jesus in the boat

Post Summer Assembly Thoughts

July 27, 2023
by Craig Maven
Minister of Administration and Church Relations


I know I can speak for all of iCLT when I write that all of us took a deep breath and exhaled following our 2023 Summer Assembly. Perhaps many of you did as well. When asked how the assembly went, I answered that our worship was great, the mission stories were inspiring, and our conversations were honest and respectful.

Of the two resolutions that passed, the one brought by iCLT has specific action plans. You will be hearing from us shortly on how your district and your church can engage in these. Since we brought the resolution, we will walk with you as we make it a reality.

And here is my first suggestion – let’s pray together. It has been a humbling experience to ask the Lord how I contributed to the disfunction and mistrust in VMC. I still do not know the depth of that unfortunate contribution, but it is there. Can we all be open to what the Spirit may say?

And we need to pray for discernment on a number of items. The Denominational Affiliation Work Group needs to correctly discern what the Spirit is saying so appropriate steps can be taken to lead to appropriate actions for the delegates to consider. Each district is now asked to plan and host a worship event. Let’s pray for discernment and inspiration on how each can participate. Congregations are discerning want they want their participation in MCUSA to be or not be. Let’s pray for discernment. And even though the Faith and Praxis resolution did not pass, half of those voting supported for it. The concerns raised about accountability and commitment to the identity and policies of VMC are valid and need further discernment. Committing ourselves to prayer means we have faith that God will hear and answer.

Matthew 14:22-33 is the account of Jesus walking on the water during the night. Being a sailor, I understand what Matthew means when he says the boat was buffeted because the wind was against it. This is not a storm, but the wind is not coming from the stern or beam, rather from the bow. This will make a boat ride up a wave and then slam down on the water. It’s not dangerous, just uncomfortable, and wet. When Jesus appears, the disciples are understandably frightened. Jesus calls out to them, and then Peter wants to be where Jesus is and asks to come out on the water. Jesus says, “Come!” Peter gets out of the boat but rather than focusing on Jesus he look sat the waves and begins to sink. “Save me!” he cries. Jesus reaches out to him and says, “You of little faith. Why do you doubt?” When Peter and Jesus both get into the boat the disciples all worship Jesus declaring, “Surely you are the Son of God!”

I am not fond of allegorizing the biblical accounts. So rather than ponder what wind and waves are buffeting our ship of state as VMC, let’s get the point. Jesus is truly the Son of God! That’s it! And if Jesus is truly the Son of God, we can faith in Him and not doubt that Jesus is with us. What is asked of us to step out in faith. Do we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he is with us? I believe our answer is are sounding “YES!”

Ready to get out of the boat?

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