Promise and Hope

This gospel is pretty well-known. Here at Sacred Heart we have an entire stained-glass window depicting the scene. Every children’s bible story book seems to have the story with all manner of illustrations. There is a lot you can do with this simple gospel account. In my day, I have heard sermons that encourage us to “go outside the box” by asking us to be like Peter and be bold enough to “get out of the boat.”  The message was to take risks as individuals of faith or perhaps as a parish. Other sermons have told us to “keep our eyes on Jesus” in all that we do – good advice – with the message often an invitation to a particular piety and devotion – also good advice.  And there is something to said about the boat itself. It is a place of relative calm among the waves. It is the place where Jesus leads Peter. It is the place where the community, as the gospel says, “did him homage, saying, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’”  There is a lot you can preach about, inspired by this gospel. Continue reading

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Back in the Boat

AgnusDay Mt 14v22-1

Back in the Boat. There are many commentaries and sermons on the web that proclaim “get out of the boat!” One, somewhat cleverly, referred to the great danger that Christians are just at Sunday worship and become “boat potatoes” never taking faith outside the walls of the church. I did not find any that talked about being “back in the boat.” As mentioned a few days ago, we should be mindful that each Sunday we sit in the “nave” of the church, a word whose origins come from the Latin navis which means “boat” or “ship.” We have already considered a range of reason why Peter would have gotten out of the boat and stepped in to the chaos of the storm. It is that vein that people encourage “boat potatoes” to go over the sides, into the storm, where people need to be rescued. Continue reading

In the Boat: stepping out

AgnusDay Mt 14v22-2Given other stories we know about Peter, there is a bias for us to assume Peter is just being Peter here in this story, impetuously acting before considering the bigger picture. But we should remember that this story is likely grounded in saying something about ekklesia (church). Eugene Boring (328) points out that this is no longer a story about what Jesus alone can do: Continue reading

In the Boat: He who comes

Christ_marchant_sur_la_merComing on the Water. Alyce McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. She always has a good “take” on Scriptures. I enjoy reading her Edgy Exegsis column on the Patheos portal. I thought I would share her insights on this reading:

Twenty centuries earlier, another man looks out over another lake from the mountaintop to which he has retreated to pray. He is not a superhero who has retreated to his bat cave. He is not a ghost out to haunt the already terrified. He is a man. Fully God, fully human. He is the Son of God, though those around him don’t yet recognize him. His ship of faith is being battered by the rejection of his hometown folks and the beheading of his cousin John the Baptist by Herod. He knows his time is coming. Crowds of needy people press in on him constantly. Continue reading

In the Boat: tossed about

Jesus-boat-storm2Tossed about: it describes Jesus and the disciples. Jesus had already wanted to be by himself in prayer before the encounter with the great multitude of people who need “rescue” from hunger (Mt 13:12-21). Their need becomes the wind and waves that toss Jesus about as he responds in compassion. The disciples are directed to go ahead by boat – and they will be tossed about on the seas.

22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Continue reading

In the Boat: context

LJA130270After the collection of parables in Mt 13, the 14th chapter takes up what might well be a natural fall out of his teachings that are increasingly vague even as they point to coming judgment – weeds that will be burned and fish that will be discarded. People begin to wonder if Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon them or their “group.” The inevitable pushback or rejection will become more and more present in the narrative or at least in its subtext. Despite the pushback, Jesus must prepare the disciples. And so after teaching the disciples about the nature of the kingdom and why people do not necessarily believe (Mt 13), the Gospel reaches a pivot point in the telling of Jesus’ rejection at Nazareth, his native place (v.54). As usual the people are astonished, but in the end they took offense at him (v.57). Nonetheless Jesus continues to the preparation of disciples. Continue reading

Back in the Boat

AgnusDay Mt 14v22-1

Back in the Boat. There are many commentaries and sermons on the web that proclaim “get out of the boat!” One, somewhat cleverly, referred to the great danger that Christians are just at Sunday worship and become “boat potatoes” never taking faith outside the walls of the church. I did not find any that talked about being “back in the boat.” As mentioned a few days ago, we should be mindful that each Sunday we sit in the “nave” of the church, a word whose origins come from the Latin navis which means “boat” or “ship.” We have already considered a range of reason why Peter would have gotten out of the boat and stepped in to the chaos of the storm. It is that vein that people encourage “boat potatoes” to go over the sides, into the storm, where people need to be rescued. Continue reading

The Boat: stepping out

AgnusDay Mt 14v22-2Given other stories we know about Peter, there is a bias for us to assume Peter is just being Peter here in this story, impetuously acting before considering the bigger picture. But we should remember that this story is likely grounded in saying something about ekklesia (church). Eugene Boring (328) points out that this is no longer a story about what Jesus alone can do: Continue reading

The Boat: He who comes

Christ_marchant_sur_la_merComing on the Water. Alyce McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. She always has a good “take” on Scriptures. I enjoy reading her Edgy Exegsis column on the Patheos portal. I thought I would share her insights on this reading:

Twenty centuries earlier, another man looks out over another lake from the mountaintop to which he has retreated to pray. He is not a superhero who has retreated to his bat cave. He is not a ghost out to haunt the already terrified. He is a man. Fully God, fully human. He is the Son of God, though those around him don’t yet recognize him. His ship of faith is being battered by the rejection of his hometown folks and the beheading of his cousin John the Baptist by Herod. He knows his time is coming. Crowds of needy people press in on him constantly. Continue reading

The Boat: tossed about

Jesus-boat-storm2

 

Tossed about: it describes Jesus and the disciples. Jesus had already wanted to be by himself in prayer before the encounter with the great multitude of people who need “rescue” from hunger (Mt 13:12-21). Their need becomes the wind and waves that toss Jesus about as he responds in compassion. The disciples are directed to go ahead by boat – and they will be tossed about on the seas.

22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. This is the only place after the initial period in the wilderness (4:1–11) where Matthew specifically mentions that Jesus chose to be truly alone, sending his disciples away. This pericope (scholar language for “story”) is the first time in the Gospel according to Matthew that Jesus is pictured as praying. Even in Gethsemane he will keep three of the disciples with him (26:37). Matthew does not elsewhere mention Jesus’ habit of praying alone, as in Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, though he has of course recorded his instruction to his disciples to pray in this way, 6:5–6. It would be possible therefore to read this unusual note as indicating a particular crisis at this point in Jesus’ ministry. But that would be an argument from silence, and Matthew gives us no indication of the subject of Jesus’ prayer. In the narrative context the solitary prayer in the hills serves rather to explain how Jesus comes to be so far away from his disciples on this occasion when they find themselves in difficulties. (France, 569) Continue reading