Devotion from Pastor Charlie 

July 10, 2017

He Got into a Boat
In the summer, I like to reflect on the outdoor ministry of Jesus. There was the time when Jesus left his house to go down by the lake. From his headquarters
at Capernaum, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, it was just a short walk
to the water's edge. A large crowd followed him, eager to hear what he would say. Jesus "got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach" as he "told them many things in parables" (Matthew 13:1-3).
You may think that most of what Jesus did was out in nature, but that's not the case. He went to where the people lived and worked. The gospels tell of him in cities and villages, meeting people at their points of need, in synagogues, at their homes, in the streets and on the road. But when he taught on a hillside or, like this occasion, on the lake, I can imagine that they experienced in a special way that intersection of the divine and human that is uniquely Jesus.
Here is what I mean. You're in that crowd that comes to hear him, standing with hundreds of others on the beach, facing toward the lake. Jesus positions himself in the boat some distance from shore. His words carry strong and clear, as voices do over water. You listen to him teach, parables of the kingdom spun out in the everyday language of the common folk.
Your eyes are fixed on Jesus. Jesus, only Jesus, now surrounded by water, sky, clouds, sunshine, the infinite beyond. Only Jesus, afloat between water and sky, between the sand at your feet and the shimmering horizon. You sense in him
now the Eternal, the Power beyond the clouds and sunshine. And tomorrow you'll see him on the street again.

Charles Hambrick-Stowe
The First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut