Day 47 – Faith that walks on water
Prayer for the week
Start you day with this prayer
Lord, our Creator, we still find ourselves in liminality. We are realising, more and more, that we can never return to our lives as it were before Covid-19; and at the same time we don’t know what a life without Covid-19 even looks like. It feels as if the pause button has been pressed, while life must carry on in some way or another, and we try to keep some semblance of normality and routine.
Some of us had big dreams and plans for this year and for the immediate future, Lord, and it’s a heavy burden to know that these must be postponed or altered indefinitely. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, family gatherings, time with friends, visiting grandparents just aren’t possible at this time. We miss those we love, those we so sorely want to embrace, and whom we want to hold and reassure that we care about them and have not forgotten them.
We are worried about those that are ill and in hospital. And it hurts even more to lose someone in this time, especially as we cannot be surrounded by a caring community. Our hearts are filled with emotion, Lord. The uncertainty makes us feel rebellious, tired, sad, angry and hopeless.
May You, the great Comforter, remind us that You are close to us and that we are your children, that we breathe life through your Holy Spirit, and in doing so can inhale your comforting grace. Show us how we can still dream, still cling to the hope that a time will come when we can experience community again.
Help us, Lord, to reach out to each person who feels alone in this time. May we be representatives of You, the living God, who loves and cares for us with undying, uncomprehending love.
Read this reflection on the text for the day.
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:29-31.
How many times the dreams and visions of spiritually intelligent people are stolen from them by the pessimists among them! Do not listen to this kind of pessimism. If Moses listened to all the prophets of doom on their way to the Promised Land, the Isrealites would have drowned in the desert sand. Martin Luther would never have challenged the church of his time that led to the Reformation. Mother Teresa would never have entered the streets of Kulkutta to change the plight of the poor. And you? Are you listening to the pessimists, or are you listening to the voice of the Spirit of God calling?
Sometimes we are overly cautious to avoid mistakes, but to make mistakes are human, and we can learn from our mistakes. Fear of making mistakes should not paralyse us. To be overly cautious was the way of wisdom when everything in society was relatively unchanging. The world we live in today is fast paced. We as believers should be as Malcolm Gladwell describes us in his book Blink, believers who can make the correct spiritual decisions in the blink of an eye and intuitively, who can think creatively on their feet; passionate servants of God with the heart of a lion, who are not afraid to upset the status quo. Radical? Yes, but the alternative is much worse: stagnation and death!
Followers of Jesus are not afraid of the challenges life bring, even though they are trembling. They live with the faith that God will sometimes challenge them to get out of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus. And when they do start to sink, they know that Jesus will be there to save them. But they cannot say no to the chance of a lifetime to walk on water with Jesus just because they are afraid to look today’s challenges in the eye. Faith, for them, is something they do. They leave their fingerprints on every day, fingerprints with the cross of Jesus engraved on them.
Jesus, help me to get out of my boat, out of my comfort zone. I want to live passionately with You on the water. I want to listen to your voice and do what You ask, and close my ears for the pessimists out there. Amen.
Liturgy for life
See the ordinary things you do in and around the house as signs of God’s care.
This week: Think differently about your cell phone charger
I don’t phone my wife often. Not because I don’t want to. I don’t have to. My office and her office are 10 steps apart in our house. We meet each other in the hallway when we want to talk about something. She doesn’t expect me to call her. But every once in a while she has to go to the city for meetings, and then I phone her … if her phone’s battery has not died.
In the last few years it has happened often that she sent me a message that her phone’s battery is about to die and that I should phone her now, otherwise I won’t be able to reach her. I’ve teased her many times about this dead cell phone and then refer to the story Jesus told about the 10 servant girls and their lamps. “Your lamp is going out again …” is a saying in our house that refers to a dead cell phone.
But what was Jesus’ true intention with this parable? Here is an attempt at a modern version.
Imagine you have a teenage girl at home. She and her highschool sweetheart were torn apart by the monster called Lockdown. The boyfriend lives on the edge of the Karoo and they don’t have good cell phone reception there. He lets her know via SMS that he will be phoning her later that day. She will make sure that her phone is charged. She might even arrange for a power bank or a generator, just to make sure her phone is ready for that call. It gets late, and she falls asleep, but when the call comes through around 00:15 she is wide awake and her phone is charged. There is great joy in the house because she could speak to her loved one again.
The point of this story is that we should wait with anticipation and hope.
Currently we must also wait with hope and anticipation for what is to come. It’s the same kind of waiting that Jesus’ parable asks of us as believers. This Covid-19 time can be a very suited metaphor to help us think about the time all believers are waiting for: the end of times, the second coming of our Lord. We should be prepared for this new time, even if we don’t know when it will arrive.
What do we do to prepare? We live according to the Bible. We love one other and ourselves. We take care of other people. We repair what is broken. We practice love in our homes.
Start a new habit this week every time you charge your phone. Remind yourself of the parable of the 10 servant girls that Jesus told and ask yourself if you are living with hope and anticipation today for the time to come. Charge your phone, fill your lamp, because the wonderful day will arrive when the call comes through.
Play with your children.
Wow! 21 Days of isolation. 21 Days in which we’re only allowed to be in our homes (or gardens) and can only go out for the most essential things like food and medicine. It can be a little rough! All the things we usually do during the day, like school, sport, church … are not happening anymore. It can really confuse you and maybe even bore you a little. These daily readings will help you to spend some time with Jesus every day in a creative and fun way. You can do these readings and activities by yourself, with your siblings, or with your entire family. Ask one of the grownups to post your activity on Facebook so that others can enjoy it with you. Tag it with #solitudecalendar #churchtogether
Have you ever had to do something that made you tremble with fear? Just think how scared Peter must have been when Jesus called him to walk on water with Him. Sometimes there are really big challenges in front of us that scare us. Luckily we don’t have to be scared that these challenge will overcome us for Jesus is always by our side, ready to help us. He might not reach out his hand the way He did with Peter, but Jesus will always help us in the way that will benefit us most.
– In which ways can Jesus help us? Here’s one example: Jesus gives us good advice in the Bible.
– Is there a challenge that is scaring you at the moment? Talk to Jesus about it.
If it’s still warm where you live, and you have a pool, see how far you can walk on the water.
Make a boat from reusable items in your house. See how long your boat can stay afloat. If you want to, you can even put some pebbles in your boat to see how many it can carry before it sinks.
Look at this week’s illustration.
Talk to the people in your home or with your friends on WhatsApp about the illustration.
– What stands out to you?
– Take note of the things you see, but also of the things that aren’t present in the illustration.
– What would you like to add?
– How does this illustration connect with today’s Scripture, and how not?
Create your own interpretation of the illustration through any medium: dance, photography, videography, music, poetry, drawing, painting or short stories.
Record it and share it with us on social media with the hashtag #countdowndoodles