Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 19.9,11-13; Romans 9.1-5; Matthew 14.22-33
“Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” – Matthew 14.27
Both the prophet Elijah and the apostle Peter live and lead in unsettled times and experience questions we are asking today. Where is God in this mess? Where is Jesus in this cross wind?
Like them we may find God when we are hearing no answers or when we are in over our heads. When Jesus invites Peter to walk toward him on the water, Peter steps out of the boat but the strong head winds and great waves take his attention off Jesus. He cries out in fear. In faltering he finds Jesus’ present.
The risen Jesus is not with his followers in the same way the historical Jesus was. Matthew pictures Peter in a community struggling between the experience of having Jesus among them in the flesh and the promise of his risen presence. How does Jesus continue with this community? Is he a ghost, a memory, a real presence?
The boat full of disciples is going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, Gentile territory. As Gentiles become Christians conflicts arise with family members and with what practices Jewish Christians expect them follow. Today the Church faces headwinds and cross currents on a global scale.
To escape with his life, Elijah runs to Mt. Horeb where God gave Moses the commandments. He does not hear God’s voice in the old ways–thunder, lightning, earthquake. Instead Elijah hears God is sheer silence, encounter God’s voice within, speaking within the interior silence of his consciousness.
What waves of uncertainty do you face? What are you crying out about? What do you hear in silence?