THE CALL OF LOVE DUC August 13, 2017 TEXT: Matthew 14:22-33 Many of the sermons I’ve heard (and preached!) on the Gospel reading about Jesus walking on water have focused on Peter. He’s the disciple who found himself sinking into stormy seas when he began to doubt. Maybe there’s another lesson in this story. Maybe the lesson is that “If you want to walk on the water, you’ve got to get out of the boat. You’ve got to try.”
But the disciples didn’t get get out of the boat – they didn’t try … didn’t risk … didn’t experience personal growth. Isn’t that us sometimes? … not willing to risk … risk being hurt … being challenged … having our viewpoints turned upside-down. Think about the times in your life when you have grown the most. I’ll bet that at least some of them were moments when you “stepped out of the boat” and took a risk. They have been for me. When Daisy Anderson began work on her powerful book, The Daisy Project, she stepped out of the boat … and much of her personal self-growth began. – not to mention the help that will come to others because she was willing to step out of the boat and share her personal story in a book that I highly recommend.
Many would say that it doesn’t make sense to step out of a boat at the height of a storm. But then again, much of the Christian faith doesn’t make sense if you think about it. A baby born to a virgin … doesn’t make sense. An empty tomb … doesn’t make sense. Choosing death in order to live … doesn’t make sense. Ruling by serving … doesn’t make sense. Nope, taking a risk just doesn’t make sense.
But think about it – Peter steps out of the boat and it is Peter to whom Jesus says, “You are the rock on which I will build my church.” The Christian Church is founded on the one who dared to get out of the boat.
I’m not talking about taking risks just for the sake of adventure. You’re not going to find me bungee jumping, cliff diving, participating in extreme sports, or going on “Canada’s Amazing Race.” The key here is, Peter didn’t get out onto the water until Jesus said to him, “Come.” We are not called to be reckless, but we are called to trust. You can tell me that you trust me to hold your money until you’re blue in the face, but until you have actually put the money into my hands, you haven’t really trusted. It’s the same with faith. You can say, “Oh, I have faith in God” all you want, but until you get out of the boat, it’s only so much hot air. “There is nothing more important than God,” we say. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” we quote. “With God all things are possible.” We shout it again and again as we sit comfortably in our boats. Can we claim to have faith until we have are willing to get out of the boat when Jesus calls? And Jesus does call. The question is – how? when? why? The answer to the ‘why’ is easy – it’s in response to the Call of Love.
As for the ‘how’ and ‘when’ … that’s for each of us to discern. The Call of Love is extended to us over and over and over again – not just once or twice. The Call of Love is for national churches – for individual congregations – and for individual people Think about how the Call of Love has flowed through the United Church when it comes to national decisions about the blessing of same-sex unions. Think about how the Call of Love has flowed through this local congregation when it comes to decisions about ways it can be a beacon of hope and presence to this community. Think about how the Call of Love has called you – is calling you – will call you.
The Call of Love can be a “biggie” or just a little nudge. But those calls do come. 🙂 – Maybe Jesus is calling you, personally … calling you to … a new ministry within the church or community … or to a new job … or even to a new attitude.
– Maybe the Call of Love is calling you to better stewardship … of your time … or your money … or the environment. – Maybe the Call of Love is calling you to share your faith with someone else. This week, someone here in Duncan will … get a worrisome call from their doctor with results from some medical tests. Someone here in Duncan will … learn they’ve lost a job … realize their family is breaking up … might recognize the early signs of Alzheimer’s in a loved one … learn about the death of a loved one.
Is it really fair to keep the ‘good news’ stories … that God ever helped you only inside these church walls? … that prayer has made life a little more bearable … that your faith has brought you real comfort in difficult times?
Maybe the Call of Love on your life is to share these things with someone outside of DUC? Let’s be honest, these are difficult days — not only because of our personal lives but because there are two men who are playing war games with one another via social media, and caught in the middle are people in Guam, South Korea, the west coast of the US and who knows who else – even us. 🙁 The Call of Love spoke to people this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia as they walked, hand in hand in silent protest against the white nationalists/KKK/white supremacists.
If the Call of Love has touched you in some way in the past, doesn’t it make sense that the same Call of Love will be with you should global uncertainty escalate even more? If so, wouldn’t it be a kindness to step out of the boat and share the good news about how you have experienced, known about God – with others who are not part of the DUC community? A quote by John A. Shedd says, “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” God calls us to set sail. And once we’re out on the raging sea, new possibilities are before us. Jesus is on the water and bids us come.
The question is “How can we respond to the Call of Love?” Amen.
June’s website is www.soulistry.com