Sunday, June 03, 2018

Science supports Fatih

Matthew 14:22-36 by Rev. David L.S. Robertson
Series:Daring Hope in Turbulent Times

A friend of mine once told the humorous side of today’s gospel reading as he recounted the discussion between Jesus and Peter. Having watched Jesus walking on the water and wanting to prove himself, Peter steps out of the boat onto the wind tossed waves and immediately sank to the bottom. Why, exclaimed an anxious and disappointed, Peter? Why did I sink? Oh, said Jesus. I’m sorry, I forgot to tell you where the stones were! It’s a groaner, I know. And for some perhaps not all that funny. But I like it. Because, as soon as we try to explain the passage and the physics of it, we lose the story’s momentum and its meaning escapes us like air passing out of a balloon. When we read these stories, we need to remember that for the most part, people were in relationship with an enchanted world. Meaning and mystery were inextricably interwoven into God’s creation. Air, Earth, Water, Fire were evidence of powerful natural forces that gave voice to the Divine and sparked the human imagination in its search for meaning. Thunder and lightning were the properties of the gods as were windstorms and earthquakes. Against the backdrop of an enchanted world and human imagination, Jesus walks on water where the natural elements are clearly part of the drama as the wind howls and the waves are tossed. This is a story told in a Jewish context against the backdrop of a pantheon of Greek gods. And the point is the gospel’s attempt to portray Jesus as the source of divine power, truth, wisdom and the one upon whom we gaze as the icon of our faith. The gospel of Matthew calls upon the disciples and especially Peter to keep their eyes on Jesus—not the wind, not the waves, not the disruptions and not life’s turmoil’s. Matthew’s gospel is completely aware of the enchanted world along with it’s mysteries and powers. Matthew beautifully conveys this in the reaction of the disciples who try to explain the unexplainable as a dramatic paranormal experience at first. But then learn that the wisdom and compassion of the experience is really about a faith-filled relationship with the Christ. This is a message for believers—essentially for the church. When we step out of the boat and risk the elements from time to time we do so not according to our own merit, but we do so recognizing that we need faith in Jesus, otherwise we sink. The grace of course is that even when we doubt or lose our gaze, Jesus reaches out to us and helps us clamour back to safety. And remarkably through the struggles and torment, the winds cease once everyone is back in the boat. The imagery, the literary devices, the focus on Jesus as the one who is the object of our faith and the one who heals is the intent of the story. Not about how did Jesus do it. If we go down the path of how-did-Jesus-do-it by employing the disciplines of science—physics, quantum mechanics, matter and motion, we subject the gospel to an investigation to which it simply cannot respond. And because it cannot respond accordingly, this becomes the fodder for atheists who generally speaking reject religion as mere primitive science and therefore, irrelevant in a modern or post-modern world. As we unpack this a little more, I have the caring words of my dental hygienist in mind when I say, “Bear with me”.
Duration:22 mins 18 secs