NAVE – BOAT.
This beautiful imagery did not take long to find physical form in the art and architecture of churches. For example, the area between the narthex and the sanctuary was called the “nave.” This word comes from the Latin navis, or ship and was meant to portray the reality that the Church is a ship, protecting those inside it from the waves and buffets of the world.
This week the Lectionary readings are all about God’s salvation. Whether it’s Joseph bringing God’s salvation to Egypt, or Elijah receiving God’s visitation and the power to bring salvation to Israel, or Peter and the other disciples being saved from the storm, God’s work to save God’s people is at the forefront of the readings.
But there are always two movements to these stories. Firstly people who are under threat are rescued by an act of God, and then, secondly, they are sent to share their experience with others, both by telling their story and by being agents of salvation to other needy ones.
This is the biblical pattern for all followers of God’s ways – we are saved, and then we become channels of God’s salvation.
What is also important about the biblical stories of salvation is that they do not focus only on what happens after we die.
While there is certainly an element of being invited into God’s eternal life and overcoming the power of death, salvation, in the biblical sense, is much more than this. It includes bringing healing, justice, peace, sufficiency, and joy into the world now.
This is a call to participate in God’s mission to make the entire world whole and one in Christ.
A lot is made of Peter’s request to walk on the water.
We are often told that we need to “get out of the boat” in faith.
But, what this ignores is that Peter’s request was not one of faith but of fear.
Verse 28 says that Peter used the call to walk on water as a way to reassure himself that it was really Jesus who was coming to them.
He was afraid and used a dramatic demonstration to allay his fears.
Perhaps that’s why it was so easy for him to grow even more afraid and sink into the water.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus gently challenged him about his lack of faith, and asked him why he doubted.
The doubt is what made Peter get out of the boat in the first place!
Sometimes the greatest faith, and the greatest witness to God’s salvation, is not when we do dramatic things to prove God’s power, but when we rest in the ordinary routines of our lives while storms rage around us.
This reveals the true power of faith. How can you rest in God’s grace today no matter what storms you may face?
May our faith be strengthened as we worship, and may we be transformed that little bit more into those who have God as our Anchor. In prayer, Rev Tania