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Travel the banks of the River of Jordan

by davesandel on August 2nd, 2022

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

(click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Travel the banks of the River of Jordan

When I summon him, he shall approach me; how else should one take the deadly risk of approaching me? says the Lord.

The prophets were summoned. Jeremiah was, in his own words, “seduced.” Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy-laden. We’re all called, but that might not be the same as “summoned.” God tells us we cannot stand to see his face. He shows only his backside to Moses.

So now it’s Peter’s turn. Jesus has finished his prayer and is coming back to the disciples, back to the world in which he lives these days. They are in a boat far from any shore, and a storm is breaking. Jesus heads across the water, looking for all the world like a ghost. He reassures his friends.

Take courage; it is I; do not be afraid.

Peter’s mouth opens before he thinks. And, as often happens, he gets just a little ahead of God. He didn’t exactly invite himself, but …

Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.

Jesus hears that “if” but does not respond to it. He summons Peter.

Come.

Perhaps the disciples eagerly thrust Peter over the side of the boat? What a group of characters they were, like any group of twelve, whether jurors or disciples. Peter’s friends feared for his life, could he swim in such a storm? Others might have done the thrusting, hoping Peter would be humbled once and for all.

Jesus knew Peter, his past and his future, and he loved him.

Peter became frightened and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Then immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him.

Jesus spoke to Peter, but his words were lost to the others in the sounds of the storm.

O you! O little faith! Why did you doubt?

 

Yahweh’s words to Jeremiah were for the nation, but they must also have felt personal.

Incurable is your wound, and there is none to plead your cause, no healing for you. All your lovers have forgotten you.

Jesus and his Father know that doubt accompanies faith; as Thomas Merton said on his way to his unexpected death, “You can’t have faith without doubt.” Both Jeremiah and Peter are rescued from their remorse and shame, as well as the impending danger. Yahweh stands strong in his place, the Creator, Healer, Savior.

I will punish all his oppressors. When I summon him, he shall approach me, this ruler who comes from your kin. How else should one take the deadly risk of approaching me? You shall be my people, and I will be your God.

And Peter, who got the summoning all mixed up, he too was saved.

After they got back into the boat, the wind died down. Truly, they said, you are the Son of God.

Jesus and his friends landed at Gennesaret. The crowds came and begged to touch the hem of his garment. All these adventures served to strengthen God’s power in Jesus to heal.

As many as touched it were healed.

I just love these stories. The water is wide, and at least now and then, we are summoned to.

Come.

 (Jeremiah 30, Psalm 102, John 1, Matthew 14)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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