The 9th Sunday after Trinity
Immediately he 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.”
revive your Church in our day,
and make her holy, strong and faithful,
for your glory’s sake
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
I remember visiting the lifeboat station at Whitby. If you’ve been there you might well have read about Henry Freeman. Freeman was the only survivor of the Whitby Lifeboat disaster of 9th February 1861, on that day, a great storm wrecked more than 200 ships on the east coast. The Whitby lifeboat crew launched five times to rescue stricken vessels, but on their sixth launch, a freak wave hit the lifeboat, which capsized, and all but one of the crew were lost. Freeman survived because he was wearing a new design of cork lifejacket, they had given him the one lifejacket because he was the youngest. He was awarded an RNLI Silver Medal for the courage and determination he displayed that day, and later become the Whitby RNLI Coxswain. For 40 years Henry Freeman was a lifeboatman.
Our background is of a temperate moist climate and a sea going nation.
When we consider any biblical story that mentions water, we need to understand it from the point of view of a dry middle eastern situation where sea going was not part of the background.
In the bible, water is about life and death – too much you drown, too little and your crops will die, or you might die of thirst. Even the fishermen are on a lake not the sea.
Of course, we can have floods here, even water shortages and hosepipe bans. In Palestine they did not water their lawns!
The storm on the sea is for the disciples a cause for fear. Will we survive? Who can help us?
The little boat, like the early church is tossed upon stormy seas, no lifejackets, no lifeboat men.
Peter can only reach out to Jesus. Who else can save him?
The early church only had its faith in Christ to uphold it during the tempests of the Roman empire.
Today the church still only has that faith to keep us safe.
Don’t forget that our services restart on the 16th August
9.30 at Houghton Conquest
11.00 at Wilstead