One thing I have learned lately, the Lectionary has a way of serving as a channel for the Spirit to speak into the issues of the day- and weekend. This was true with yesterday’s familiar Gospel story- Jesus (and Peter) walking on the water in Matthew 14:22-33.
As I reflected late last night, with the events of Charlottesville on my heart and mind, I landed on this simple charge: upon the waters of chaos is where Jesus calls his disciples to walk. These are the same waters the Spirit hovered over in the beginning and called forth light.
Yet, when the strong winds of this world bellow upon us, like Peter, we are tempted to become become fickle and afraid. When our sure-footedness feels like a thing of the past and safety and security are as questionable as the waters beneath us, we wonder why we ever left the boat in the first place.
This is what Jesus saves Peter from- questioning that upon these waters is exactly where he and all disciples are called to wander in faith, hope, love, and an unwavering commitment to justice. Upon these waters is where he- and the whole world- will find deliverance.
In these days, with squalls of racism and violence and the tempests of white supremacy trumpeted with renewed energy under the banner of God and country, I am giving thanks for those who dare to step out of the boat in faith and to stand. I am giving thanks for those who refuse to sink in the chaotic waters even as they embrace the hand of Christ and walk upon such seas- exposing the evils and injustices that seek to unsettle the spirit and slow the progress of a nation through fragile acts of terror. I am grateful for preachers and prophets, teachers, bloggers, sisters and brothers across faith traditions, and advocates of all kinds who have refused to disengage, remain silent, or white-knuckle their own security and public image and instead have taken to the front lines of holy solidarity and cruciform love.
I pray each of us would have the courage to do the same. Only there, as we walk upon these turbulent waters armed with God's grace and compassion, can we find salvation. This is where the Spirt hovers and brings forth light.
This has always been so.
Some quick links to stories of those walking upon the waters of chaos in these days, please let me know of others I should add:
- Twitter handle of Rev. Traci Blackmon (@pastortraci), UCC pastor and executive minister of UCC Justice and Witness Ministries, was leading a service in a church on the grounds of UVA and surrounded by torch-bearing white supremacists Friday night. Rev. Blackmon was also forced off camera during an interview due to the violence. Photo above is from that gathering, full story here.
- Prayer written by Jill Duffield, Editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, who joined an interfaith march in the midst of the Charlottesville rally.
- Prayer from the Streets of Charlottesville
- Diana Butler Bass conversation with Brian McLaren, who was on the ground in Charlottesville.
- John Pavlovitz: Yes, This Is Racism.
- Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy Reacts To White Nationalist Rally
- Prayer and Resources of Support from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance