“Jesus Changes the Rules” Matthew 14:13-33
Rev. Sean Weston
Lyonsville Congregational UCC, Indian Head Park IL
February 24, 2019
Robert Gench tells a story of a woman who “was serving on a long-range planning committee of her church at a critical juncture in the church’s life. They had decided,” he says, “to reenergize various ministries of the church, but initial enthusiasm waned when the implementation of the ministries proved difficult. Negativity overtook the leadership…[and] finally one of the newer members of the church asked, ‘Is this what it means to be church, believing you should do all these things, and then feeling worn out and guilty because you can’t? Is this the Good News we celebrate?’” The question got people’s attention.
It just so happens that the woman in the story is Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the President of Union Seminary in New York City where I studied for a year. It’s a small story, and it goes to show that no matter our standing or status in the world of faith, we all miss the boat from time to time.
Speaking of boats, Gench told this story in a commentary on part of today’s story from scripture – the story of Jesus walking on water, though I actually think it’s best thought of as the story of Peter walking on water. After all, miracles are kind of Jesus’ thing. But for Peter – ordinary Peter – to walk on water? Well, that gets my attention.
The story tends to be interpreted on the individual level: “in the storms of life, keep your eye on Jesus and you’ll pull through.” Or, Jesus is cast as a kind of superhero who just kind of does amazing stuff. These aren’t necessarily bad interpretations, though I don’t generally think it’s helpful to imagine that Jesus is a superhero because then we forget he was also one of us. But these interpretations tend to miss the bigger picture. Continue reading