Link to PDF
The Still Point: The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 14
A Time of Meditation and Reflection
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.
Praise to you, God, for all your work among us. Yours is the vigor in creation, yours is the impulse in our new discoveries.
Make us adventurous, yet reverent and hopeful in all we do. Amen.
The Gospel Matthew 14:22-33
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Poem: “Walking Water” by Wyatt Townley
Inside us the ocean
sways like a cradle
in which we rock, rock
and are drawn like the tide
to the moon twice a day
we carry our water and it carries us
we are a good pail with legs
foot by foot on the turning
mountain of the world
water walking on the prairie
walking water on the road
up the stairs through a door
where the view rushes out of us
through the window to the woods
rushing water in the desert
rushing water in this chair
and that one you’re in
and what is solid is not at all
what we thought the rock
worn away by the rocking
Wyatt Townley’s poem offers some compelling perspectives on the familiar image of Jesus walking on the water (and coaching Peter to do the same) from today’s Gospel. We are, after all, mostly composed of water, and so we might consider, as one perspective, that Peter’s fear – and his subsequent appeal to Jesus’s saving hand – is a fear of one’s own water-ness. Fear of storms and turbulent waters might take the shape of our own fear of our own turbulence, and to enter into a life with God is, perhaps, to find the calming waters of Jesus deep within ourselves. Jesus’s rebuke of Peter is, perhaps, a way of saying to him, “You were always walking on water!”
- How would you describe your own “walking water” today? When your “walking water” is tranquil and calm, what does that feel like? What about in moments of troubled waters?
- Water is, of course, a rich spiritual image, and though water evokes life, sanctuary, and refreshment, it can also evoke storms, flooding, and fear. What water places or images have meaning in your life?
- In our cultural moment of turbulent waters, perhaps you had at times risen above fear. What helped you do that?
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.
Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name. Amen.
Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us now and remain with us forever. Amen.