August 8, 2020

Proper 14 2020

Passage: I Kings 19:9-18; Matthew 14:22-33

What are you doing here? Why do you doubt? Two excellent questions for us to ponder.

Elijah is in hiding. He is very afraid of Queen Jezebel as she has promised him to make him just like the hundreds of priests of Baal whom he just slaughtered, Canaanite priests who ate at Jezebels’ table. So he is running away for his life. He also believes he is very much alone. What he does not know is that another prophet, Obadiah by name (an OT book!) has sequestered 700 of God’s prophets who cannot be touched by either Jezebel or her very weak husband, King Ahab. Elijah is jealous of God, quite protective of his god among so many others, and he is angry at feeling alone as well as persecuted for being God’s prophet. God comes along to find Elijah, to mildly scold him and send him back to do the work he was born to do. But God also wants Elijah to know he is not alone. Wind…earthquake…fire..not God. The sound of sheer silence…


God might very well be asking us all this question. What are you doing here? Maybe not HERE…church. But what are you doing in your life? Are you jealous for God? Are you angry for feeling alone amidst this pandemic? Elijah had every reason for feeling both jealous and alone. He was burned out in ministry and he was severely depressed.

God simply wanted to remind him he had a calling and he was given the awesome blessing of having God find him. Not in some fancy outspoken manner but in silence.

So what ARE you doing here? Are you listening for God or are we all trying to make life ‘normal’ again and delve into the business of life that will take us away for the listening in the silence. Elijah was touched by the quiet presence of holiness. Can we not allow that to us?

Now for the second question. Why do you doubt?

Peter…we all love Peter because we all are so often Peters’ in our own skin. Brash, impulsive Peter. He and his disciple friends have been sent on their way by Jesus

to get to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Jesus is alone where they left him;

he needs some of that quiet Elijah was given. And along comes that storm. Often like our lives tossed about with no rudder to guide, no Jesus to help, no calm in sight.

The sea in Scripture often refers to chaos which threatens the creative order of Gods’ goodness. Into the midst of their chaos comes Jesus. Not in another boat but WALKING ON WATER! The divine presence has come to the rescue just in the nick of time. And impetuous Peter thinks ‘I can do this!’ In the midst of a storm he steps out of his boat. I don’t think many of us could even manage that, let along try to walk toward Jesus. He is at first unafraid and then takes his eyes off Jesus which leads to his sinking and great fear. Jesus doesn’t scold him, but reaches for him and asks this question: why did you doubt? As if Jesus is saying ‘I am here and there’s no reason

for you to be afraid.’ Peter has trust AND doubt, courage AND anxiety. Which of us does not? His faith to even step out of the boat is our faith as well. Faith is not walking on the water but daring to believe in the face of all the evidence to the contrary that God is with us in our little boat of life. So when you or I feel we don’t have enough faith or enough trust be like Peter. Step out in that tiny bit of faith we do have and let Jesus hold us up.

Why did you doubt might be termed didn’t you know I was there to catch you?

So…why are you here in this time in this life?

and why do you doubt?

Invite some quiet into life this week and in the midst of that quiet ask Jesus to hold you.

Wrap his loving presence around your disquieted heart and bring you peace. Amen.

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