|The Transfiguration of Jesus the Liberating King|
O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
About eight days after Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36)
|Jesus walks on the water|
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right,
that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.Reading from the Revised Common Lectionary:
First Reading & Psalm: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
Alternate Reading and Psalm: 1 Kings 19:9-18; Psalm 85:8-13
Second Reading: Romans 10:5-15
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."Lectionary Reflections for the Season of Pentecost:
Allan R. Bevere: The Sound of Sheer Silence: A Lectionary Reflection on 1 Kings 19:9-18.
Ekklesia Project: Rocking the Boat.
The Brazos Blog: Stanley Hauerwas on Matthew 14:22-33.
Peter asks Jesus to command him to meet him on the water, and Jesus does so with the single word, “Come.” Peter walks toward Jesus but notices the strong wind and begins to sink. He begs Jesus to save him. Peter does not begin to sink and then become frightened, but he becomes frightened and so he begins to sink. Losing sight of Jesus means that Peter, like all of us, cannot help but become frightened, which means we cannot survive. Jesus, as he has so often done, stretches out his hand and saves him.
Peter is often criticized for being impulsive, for having “little faith,” and for doubting, but such criticism should not overlook that he asks Jesus to command him to come to him. Peter begins his journey across the water toward Jesus with the recognition that this is not something he can do on his own initiative. He asks Jesus to command him to come, recognizing that he has no ability to come to Jesus unless his ability to come to Jesus comes from Jesus. Peter’s faith is little, but he at least is beginning to recognize that faith is obedience.
Soon Jesus will rename Simon as Peter and declare that “on this rock” Jesus’s church will be built, making this story ripe with ecclesiological implications. The church is the ark of the kingdom, but often the church finds herself far from shore and threatened by strong winds and waves. Those in the boat often fail to understand that they are meant to be far from shore and that to be threatened by a storm is not unusual. If the church is faithful she will always be far from the shore. Some, moreover, will be commanded to leave even the safety of the boat to walk on water.