Summer holidays have a special charm, don't they? As Rev. Neil fumbled with a bag in front of our young(ish) audience, he pulled out the essentials for a day at the Scottish beach: a bucket and spade. Memories of sand pies and mock racetracks flooding back, reminding us all of the simple joys of seaside days.
Today, Neil took us into a deeper narrative that beckons both the young and old, where waters aren't always calm, and the beach is far from sight. He spoke of the biblical story where Jesus walks on water, a tale known to many, but understood in depth by few.
We learnt of Peter, an ardent follower of Jesus, who witnesses Him strolling atop tumultuous waves. Overwhelmed by awe and an inkling of doubt, Peter attempts to tread the water towards his Lord. But fear, like an anchor, drags him down. It's a story that many would critique for Peter’s fleeting faith, but let's give him his due - he had the courage to step out of the boat.
We often find ourselves like the disciples, clutching the edges of our comfort boat. Our routine, habits, and the familiar shores deter us from venturing into unknown waters. Neil read us some of Sir Francis Drake’s poetry which touched on this sentiment aptly, nudging us to venture into wider seas, embrace the unknown, and sail beyond the horizon of our hopes.
One might argue that it's wiser to stay in the boat, for who would willingly step into a storm? But then, isn’t life itself a series of unpredictable storms and sunny days? Jesus’s walk on water is not just a miracle story, but a reflection of life's uncertain terrains and the faith required to navigate them.
Consider the brave souls of the RNLI, our modern-day heroes. With 238 lifeboat stations across the UK, these volunteers embody the spirit of Jesus, rescuing those in peril, even amidst life's fiercest tempests. The recent rescues, from aiding stranded jet skiers to salvaging broken-down yachts, show an unwavering dedication, akin to Peter’s bold step out of the boat.
As we sit comfortably, or perhaps too comfortably, it’s essential to challenge our complacency. Christianity, in its essence, is revolutionary. It's not about the calm or the predictable but about embracing the storms with faith.
So, what if instead of being critical of Peter’s sinking, we celebrate his walking, however brief? For often, our strongest stories aren't about the storms we avoided, but the ones we faced head-on.
In life's unpredictable waves and sunny beach days, let's remember to occasionally step out of our boats. Let's dare to tread waters unknown, for that's where the magic, or perhaps the miracles, happen.