August 13, 2017 – Nineteenth Sunday of the Church Year

Saints for the day: Pontian-and-Hippolytus – (died 235)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

1 Kings 19:9a,  11-13a –  Psalm 85  –  Romans 9:1-5  –  Matthew 14:22-33

“With a tiny whisper Jesus calms the storms of our hearts.”

A common crossword puzzle clue for a four letter word: “a confused state” ends up being, “asea.” Psychologists often refer to the unconscious as a body of water and most of us cruise along – just on the surface never really getting our feet wet or chancing what might be below the surface. In this Gospel, Jesus has command of the storms that rage just below the surface and shows us an example of how He has integrated the conscious and unconscious parts of His nature.

The analogy would be our ability to both walk on water but also to be at peace swimming below the surface. A fully integrated person can easily handle both extremes. We even refer to an un-integrated person as being “shallow,” not having any real depth. Do we have the faith to jump out of the boat or the security to allow Jesus to give us the ability to both walk on the water and to even breath under the water? Which means we must allow Jesus to be Lord of our public persona as well as the deep, hidden part of our being? “Take Lord, all that I am…”

This story of Elijah running to hide in the mountain cave along with the Exodus story that we’ve been reading in these last few days is given to us in order for us to see that God is with us on our journey no matter what difficulties we encounter along the way. Today, this is backed up with the Gospel account of Peter walking on the water – or almost, walking on the water!

With Elijah, we too, cry out: ‘…what am I going to do? They’re after me to kill me.” And God’s response is not in the spectacular signs that were familiar to the Israelites from before, but in the still, gentle sound of the breeze.

In today’s Gospel Peter forgets all the laws of gravity and only sees Jesus in front of him and thus he jumps whole hog into the water only to later realize that he is sinking. His response is key to understanding how we implore God: “Lord, save me!” Three little words. The key to how and why we implore God’s help in times of trial.

The following quote is from a 19th Century writer, C.H. Spurgeon and seems to sum up the essence of prayer: “Sinking times are praying times … Short prayers are long enough… There were but three words in the petition which Peter gasped out (“Lord, save me!:), but they were sufficient for his purpose …. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity … If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing they would be all the better … Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as sort as that of Peter.”  Lord! Save me! Amen!

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