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Lent for Everyone: Week 3, Monday (120312)

Lent For Everyone Reading Plan

This is Monday of the third week of Lent. The reading is Matthew 14, with a focus on 22-33. (If you want to listen, scroll to the bottom of that page for the audio links.)

Wright says “Then it happened. Some time after midnight, as they were still tugging at the oars and getting nowhere, he came to them. Walking on the water. This is such a strange story that many have sneered at it, but Matthew and the other writers knew perfectly well how strange it was and told it anyway. We have been learning, bit by bit, to see that Jesus seems to have possessed a kind of sovereignty over creation itself. Though our minds boggle at the thought of what that might mean, the story fits this pattern. The disciples, not unnaturally, are scared out of their minds: it must be a ghost! But no; Jesus tells them it’s all right. They are not to be afraid. (‘Don’t be afraid,’ by the way, is the most frequently repeated command in the whole Bible — something we all need to remind ourselves in our worrying and frantic world.)

((Isn’t that fantastic – worth the price of Wright’s book right there!))

Then Wright talks about Peter’s attempt to walk on the water: “That is the walk of faith which we all take when we hear Jesus’ voice and begin to follow him. We know perfectly well the world isn’t like this; that money, sex and power are what matters; that we can’t possibly give up our bad habits or keep up a life of prayer and holiness . . . but perhaps we just might, if Jesus himself called us to do it? Yes, he says, I am calling you; and off we set.

But then it all goes wrong. The wind had been there all along, but now Peter noticed it as if for the first time: what am I doing? I must be mad! I can’t possibly . . . and he starts to sink. That’s how it is for us, too. But the crucial moment is the next one. ‘Lord, rescue me!’ The simplest of prayers, and one which Jesus loves to answer. That’s what he’s come for, he said on another occasion, to look for people in need and rescue them.”

For some reason I can’t remember ever listening much to the Michael Card song, Walking on Water, but Youtube knows all – and reminded me of it immediately. If you ignore the funky subtitles, the visuals are pretty good too.