Yesterday I played the organ at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Kapahulu near Waikiki and as I usually do, last week I checked out the appointed gospel lesson for the day to decide what to play. It was Matthew 14:22-33:
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Who would have known that toward the end of the week we in Hawaii would be facing the threat of two hurricanes, with the possibility of wind and flooding imminent? As Father Paul Lillie said in his Sunday sermon, it seemed more than coincidental that this was the lesson for this week. How many times has the lectionary been spot on?
And in my position as Parish Administrator of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, one of my weekly tasks is to post Father David Gierlach’s sermon to the website. Wouldn’t you know, the title of yesterday’s sermon was “Walking on water,” which you can read by clicking here. This paragraph jumped out at me:
Whether it is the quake in China a week ago or the Ebola virus killing hundreds in Africa or the Middle East that is remaking itself with horrific violence into who knows what; to the depths much closer to home: those depths in which our friends Kathy and Carl Crosier swim as they come to grips with Carl’s late stage cancer, the homeless family rearing a week old child on the sidewalks of Kakaako, or the destruction caused by this weekend’s storms; yes indeed, the depths surround us.
With Carl remaining in the hospital, I feel we are both walking on water here. With faith, we like Peter can face the storms in life and know that God is with us. Thank you also to the many people who have written words of comfort to us as we travel this journey.