1st Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:1-4,12-28 & Psalm 105
In the story of Joseph and his brothers we have a classic example of sibling rivalry! “when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him.”
Thru all our biblical history it has been the same: the prophets of God (the favoured ones of the Father) have been universally hated and usually killed by the other less connected children of God. We fail to accept responsibility for our own dismissal of God from the story of our lives, and as a result cannot feel the ever-present love of God for each of us.
In other words this old story is still our story. We still persecute, hate, and marginalize those who are critical of the way we live. I invite you to Google “whistle-blowers” sometime and it will blow your mind! Those who proclaim injustice are almost universally punished in some terrible way.
The Prophet Isaiah said, speaking for God: “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Our spiritual evolution has been and continues to be a long slow process indeed. We continue to ignore and to imagine that we do not need - the help of the Divine Source. Our disconnected creature-self is blind and deaf to the power available to it – the power of God, there for the asking.
And so we continue to abuse power, to mistreat each other and the earth, and to disrespect and fail to acknowledge the Divine Source from which all else emanates.
But there is yet hope for us. The psalmist offers a remedy: “Give thanks and call on God’s name....let those who seek God be joyful in heart.” All is not lost. God is still God, and God is still in charge. Let us practice gratitude for all we have been given every day of our lives, and let us celebrate yet another day of living!
Hymn #820 VU “Make a Joyful Noise”
2nd Scripture Reading: Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33
Both these readings are talking about faith. Both speakers want us to know how important faith is in our spiritual lives. Paul talks about the importance of evangelism to the spreading of faith. If we believe in the healing message of Jesus in our hearts, and then proclaim his teachings and his great love – God’s great Love – for us, then we can be effective builders of faith in others. But let us not think that this is the only way faith is developed in God’s children. For did not the Prophet Isaiah say, speaking for God, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” Life on earth is infinitely more complex than Paul’s brief analysis in this passage!
I believe that the miracles of Jesus were a necessary part of his teaching mission – a mission to wake us up, to open our eyes, to show us what we don’t know and can’t control. This story about Jesus walking on the water is definitely in this category. It builds belief in something greater than our own little powers, and teaches us that faith, belief in that “something greater”, can empower us to do great things. In Peter’s case, it enabled him, the story goes, to walk on water too – until his faith faltered!
Hymn #625 VU “I Feel the Winds of God Today”