It was a familiar story, the gospel reading this past Sunday. You know the one, where Jesus sends the disciples in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee and he goes up the mountain to pray. By the time he comes down the mountain, all blissed out I’m sure, the boat was being battered around by the waves, winds, and rain. Jesus was already on his way to them, walking on water, when the disciples see him and think he’s a ghost. But Jesus says, “It’s me. Take heart; do not be afraid.” Then Peter, in sincere and heartfelt earnestness says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus says, “Come.” Peter steps out, walks a little bit, begins to fall and says, “Lord, save me.” This is where Jesus berates Peter for not having enough faith to make the walk. This is one of those scriptures that has been used to make us feel like crap. If only we would pray more, study more, have more faith, we would never sink below the waves. How dare us doubt God!
I don’t believe this is what the gospel writer had in mind, nor did Jesus. Jesus is walking on the water before anyone in the boat asks him to save them. He anticipates the needs of these men, tired, afraid, discouraged. He believes in Peter so much, he’s just like, yeah, come on, Dude! You can do it!
I know what God is like through the life, lessons, ministry and stories of Jesus Christ. God is walking toward us in the middle of our despair and hopelessness before we even ask God to come to us. God believes in us so much more than we believe in ourselves and God never stops desiring to be in relationship with us. God needs us because without us, the love of God can’t be spread across the world.
As Father Jaime said on Sunday, we need to get out of the boat and begin the hard, scary work of being love warriors in the world (I’m paraphrasing). The events of the past weekend in Charlottesville, if we focus on the hate and violence, will make any love warrior stepping out of the boat, sink in despair and hopelessness. It’s never too late to cry for help. It’s never too to recognize our own complicity. It’s never too late to embrace the truth that as a privileged, educated, white woman in this country I have benefited from the over 500 years of degradation, oppression, and violence that people of color have endured in order to build an America that is now falling apart under the weight of White Supremacy and racism. We don’t know what awaits us outside of the boat, but we know the harsh reality we are facing if we don’t. This is work we can do together knowing that God is already walking toward us ready to reach out and steady us any time we falter.
Film clip from The Truman Show with Jim Carey that is apropos to our cultural and political climate currently. Father Jaime showed it on Sunday and it sparked a powerful conversation among the parishioners in attendance.
SPOILER ALERT! Father Jaime thinks that for the moment in which we find ourselves, the character played by Ed Harris (pictured below) symbolizes not THE Creator but all those creators throughout history who have helped construct and sustain the exploitative system of white supremacy to secure their own power and privilege.