From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi all,

Sure was warm this past week! I hope you were all able to stay relatively cool and hydrated! In the heat, we spent a lot of time in our cheap little inflatable pool which was a lot of fun for the kids (and for me if we’re being honest). But of course, as I predicted, we found a small hole.

At first, it was just this weird sound that we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. We had to hush each other a lot just so we could trace it and sure enough, we saw a small tiny spot just above the water line bubbling up when we splashed water on it. The kids were deflated (pun so very intended).

Because the puncture is on one of the seams in one of the corners, I’m not sure if it can be patched up. The kids were pretty sad about that and just sat there for a while listening to the slow gurgling hiss. But it’s a very slow leak and the pool was still full of water so before long they forgot all about the leak and were playing like crazy again.

I’m thankful that the pool was big enough to still hold water, even when the top two thirds of the pool is pretty flat now. I’m glad the kids are still having fun in the thing, and that the leak didn’t keep them down. Yeah, it was sad at first, but the fun of having the pool at all superseded everything else and they bounced back and while still aware of the leak, they worked around it and were careful not to make it any worse.

I guess the moral of that story is that what you focus on really affects your mood and could make or break your whole day. Or at least, your couple hours outside and not on screens.

Here are the readings for next week:
1 Kings 19:9-18
Psalm 85:8-13
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

Here is another familiar story in this gospel text. The disciples on the boat by themselves in the middle of a storm, and Jesus strolling out there on the water to meet up with them. And many of us have heard countless interpretations of this story on faith, on life storms, on rest and time alone, and even the strength of belief. But the beauty of these stories in the bible is that there are many different things we can learn, there isn’t just one end-all be-all answer to the passage and that is all that it could ever be.

This time around, what really popped out for me was Peter’s focus. At first, along with all the disciples, his focus was on staying alive because a small boat in the dark in a storm is scary and life-threatening. They were working throughout the night trying to keep the boat from tipping over. Then his focus was turned onto a ghost walked toward them. If anything would take their mind off the wild waves and crashing wind, it’d be a ghost. And if anything would take their mind off a ghost, it’d be that ghost identifying as Jesus.

And Jesus held his focus. His focus allowed him to forget his fear of impending drowning. His focus allowed him to forget his “respect the water” lessons in fisherman school. His focus allowed him to actually get out of the boat and walk a few paces to Jesus. But then his focus changed again. He remembered his impending drowning. He remembered that you shouldn’t try to walk on water because you’ll sink. And he began to sink.

But for that brief moment, his focus was off whatever was bad and on whatever was good, and he was walking on water. His focus wasn’t on the big distracting sounds and dangers of the storm all around him, but on the calm lone figure standing calling him to join him. His focus wasn’t on how he might die, but on how he might live.

I’m not saying focusing on Jesus would allow us to walk on water (very much so, please don’t try this at home or anywhere else there is water), but I’m saying that our focus changes our mood, and could make or break our day, our month, or even our pandemic. There is still a lot of good out there in the world, even when everything seems to be shot to heck. We just need to find it and focus on it.

May we all see God working and walking in and around our lives, and hear the call to join in. Have a great week, everyone!

Featured image photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

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