Environmental Stewardship Commission
(MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Proper 14, Gospel

Matthew 14: 22-33:
Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.
(Vs 28)

Reflections on Matthew 14: 22-33:
by the Rev Wanda Copeland

First Reflection (1999):

Ancient peoples often had life compartmentalized in ways that we do not.  Different domains had different gods.  The sea had a god, the wind was controlled by another, rains and abundant harvests were the pervue of another.  One always had to be careful not to offend a god or there would be a price to pay.  One of the radical claims of Jesus is that the great "I AM" of the Hebrew people was the God over all things.  People no longer owed allegiance to a plethora of gods, but were free to worship the one, true God who presides over all aspects of life.  Worship was simplified, the commands to obey were simple and straightforward.

In the midst of the strong storm on the sea of Galilee, Jesus calls out to his disciples and reminds them who he is: "[I]t is I."  In other words, he has come in the name of the great I AM God.  Peter, says in return, "if it is you, Lord, command me to come to you."  And with Jesus¹ encouragement, he does walk on the water.  Until he sees the wind, until he experiences the power of the storm.  At that moment, he compartmentalizes the I AM God and does not believe that God can control the waves.  This must be the domain of another god.  How easy it is for us to compartmentalize God.  How easy for us to deny the God of our creation is also the God of our salvation.  We restrict our faith when we refuse to see that hand of God at work in all around us.  God is truly in all things and with all things.  The I AM God is for us and for all beings for all time.

Second Reflection (2002):

Jesus has dismissed the disciples and sent them ahead in the boat while he stays behind to pray. Once again, Jesus and the disciples are separated. And once again, they are rescued by Jesus (as he comes to them in the middle of the storm walking on the water.) And even in that moment, the first thing they, through straw man Peter, can do is test Jesus. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (emphasis added).And yet, when God makes possible the things for which we clearly ask, we are not ready to accept and live into them. How shallow is our faith that we can’t even acknowledge and accept the things God gives us that are right in front of our face. When we don’t listen to the wind, or seek the sun, or taste the no-longer-potable water, we are denying the reality of God’s gifts to us. God has entrusted us to have the wisdom and integrity of character to accept the gifts so freely given. But we cry out to be saved. We cry out even though Christ is right beside us to be with us and guide us. We cry out as though we are helpless and unable to grasp the confidence God has in us. What will Christ’s salvation look like next time?


To Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
Hebrew Scripture
Jonah 2:1-9
no reflection available
Psalm
29
no reflection available
New Testament
Romans 9:1-5
no reflection available
Gospel
Matthew 14:22-33
this page


The Rev Wanda Copeland is rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Elk River, MN. Wanda was the second chair of MEESC, and since 2001 she has been the chair of the Episcopal Ecological Network.  She originally wrote these reflections in 1999 and 2002.  Wanda and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to The Rev Wanda Copeland or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
 
MEESC
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.


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