Sunday, August 01, 2010

in the boat

I spoke tonight on Mark 6.45-52, where Jesus walks on water after feeding the 5,000.

Jesus tells the disciples to cross the lake, which they start to do, & he stays put, going up the hillside to pray. He can see them; but they don't see him - being rather consumed with the work of rowing and fighting the wind and generally doing what they have been told to do vis a vis getting over the water.

They don't see him seeing them. It doesn't stop it being true.

And the time comes in their self-absorbed obedience, their hard-work doing the right thing but without looking the right way, that he just walks across the impossible (the very thing that makes their lives unbearable) in order that they do see he sees them.

There are still waves. There is still wind. There is still a destination to be reached. But now Jesus is in the boat everything has changed. Their focus is no longer on straining against the oars, struggling against the storm - it's on Jesus with them in the boat in the midst of the storm. And everything is different.

We (as a church) need a grant application we have just put in for half a million pounds. It will complete the funds for our community centre, which will enable new projects we are doing in our community to make people's lives better. I often say - if it's essential, God will provide; if it's vanity we're on our own. But God's provision isn't money. Or a building. Or resources.

It's Jesus in the boat.

We'll always need money for something. Resources to do something. A new appeal. A new need. The material will wear out, and material needs will wear us out, trust me.

God's provison for his faithful people is Jesus in the boat. Sight and touch and sense of the one who is always with us. Right here, right now. This makes everything different. This changes the world. This makes dealing with the impossible like walking on water - the simple kind of thing that God does in order to reassure us that he sees everything, and that we too will (in time) get to where he wants us to be.

So I'm praying for our grant. But I'm praying more that I'd have a church full of people who know we have Jesus in the boat. That is worth more than any amount of cash. That's totally invaluable. Believing this we will go places we can't begin to imagine, because though the journeys we face may indeed be scary, if we really know Jesus is in the boat with us we will attempt ridiculously faithful things.

Attempt - and by his hand, succeed.

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