Looking Forward to Sunday: Take Heart!

Rev. Daniel Eggold

Aug 3, 2020

Readings:

Job 38:4–18; Psalm 18:1–6 (7–16); Romans 10:5–17; Matthew 14:22–33

A striking depiction of today’s gospel reading is Ivan Aivazovsky’s painting from 1888. The artist has captured the mystery of the event.

     We know what it is like to feel terrified. We may not be on a literal boat being tossed by the waves, as are the disciples in Sunday’s gospel reading,but our lives are often rocked by the circumstances we experience. Sometimes the howling wind that buffets our boat is a terrifying health diagnosis. The waves that batter us about might be financial ruin, marital struggles, the demands of care giving, or a myriad of other issues. We are not strangers to feeling out of control or scared.

     We are out of energy and exhausted by living in fear. Jesus meets us in the midst of our worry and says, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matt.14:27). He sings it to us in the hymns of our faith, speaks it to us in scripture, and feeds us with it in the meal.

     As we turn to a hymn and open our mouths to sing, Jesus is present in the words and melodies that God’s people have been singing for a very longtime. We sing these hymns in the chapters of our lives when the seas are calm,and when we are certain we are about to capsize.

     When someone stands to read a piece of scripture we have heard dozens of times, Jesus comes to us afresh as we hear that word with troubled or peaceful hearts. Christ meets us in His Word that never get old, offering us stability when our little boats seem dwarfed by the raging sea.

     We approach the table, steady or perhaps trembling; when we feel beloved and when we are deeply aware of our captivity to sin. Each time, we reach out with our cupped beggar hands, and Jesus offers himself to us: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Prayer

O God our defender, storms rage around and within us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear, and preserve us in the faith of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.