ST JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AMESBURY, MASSACHUSETTS
Walking on Water
August 7, 2020
for the week of
August 9, 2020
What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.
1) Begin with a transition time – Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc. Not a focus on a finished product; just enjoyment).
2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.
Our focus for this class = the Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
(Verse in bold type, my thoughts follow)
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. These are the 5000+ children, women, and men who had followed Jesus when he just wanted to be alone; instead, he healed and taught and prayed with them all day, and they had just now shared a miraculously abundant supper, everyone served from a basket of 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, broken and blessed by him.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. Finally!!!! Do you know the feeling?
What do you think he prayed?
Where is your favorite alone place? Do you pray there?
Would you have let yourself be "dismissed"?
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 towards them on the lake.
Can you even?! "Let me take a short cut; I guess I'll just stroll on this choppy water."
Can you, in your mind, imagine yourself in his place? Sun not even up, sky full of mist, gusty winds pulling your robe; spray on your face, and whitecaps across the lake. You in bare feet (or do you keep your sandals on?), walking on the water. . . not IN. . . ON. . .
But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear.
I would've, too. Would you?
They're fishermen: they know how dangerous the water is. Some fishermen don't even know how to swim; they let the boat protect them from injury or drowning (is that smart?).
What were the thoughts about ghosts/the supernatural/things unexplained in those days?
How does Jesus fit into this?
Did he scare them on purpose?
But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’
Do you think that calmed them right down?
Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’
Peter! He's my favorite. How about that, challenging the "ghost" - so brave?
He said, ‘Come.’
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
Poor Peter. So human. Boldly, bravely, maybe a little hysterically, walking toward Jesus (baby steps or striding?). Yes, yes. . . wait a minute, it's awfully windy. . . NO!
He knows who to call for help, though. And he expects to be saved, I think; do you?
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’
So close, Peter, so close!
When has doubt made you sink?
When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
"All is calm, all is bright."
Had the stormy weather been on purpose?
DO NOT FEAR.
And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
BTW FWIW I also just fed 5000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.
Why does it take miracles for people to believe?
4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to do something?
5) Brainstorm & make a poster, your choice: Top 10 Things I Would Do if Jesus Commanded Me To and/or Top 10 Things that Make Me Sink. Take a pic; email me! (Thank you!)
6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for," etc.
And/or take 5 or more minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace and letting thoughts go. Breathe! Enjoy your snack.
7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud: Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! ALLELUIA!
Pettengill House has asked for our aid in raising money and/or collecting nonperishables (food and health items) - I challenge you to plan a fundraiser/collection: how will we do it?
News & Tasks:
- LMK if you want the links to past classes. You may find that the ways you think about things or the ways you act change over time.