Monday, 27 July 2009

Rowing in the storm and reaching land ...

At chapel this morning we read John 6.1-21 the story of the feeding of th 5,000 followed by the disciples rowing in the dark for miles on the lake and being terrified as they see Christ coming to them. Then as they invite Christ into the boat they reach land.
I preached a very brief 3 minute reflection, worthy not even of the word homily. I focused on the disciples rowing - in French if someone says to you "je rame" it doesn't normally mean that they are rowing but that they are having difficulties, involved in hard work and not making much progress. So there they were rowing for miles in the dark, in the gathering storm trying in their exhaustion to overcome their fear as they see Christ coming towards them. What interested me today was how as the disciples overcome their fear and try to encourage Christ into their boat they reach their destination ... where does he go? Is he now walking towards others who are making painful headway through dark storms of life?
Later at the liturgy after the liturgy in the cafeteria over coffee - after we had sung Brian Wren's wonderful Break the bread of belonging welcome the stranger in the land - some of us reflected on how the small boat speaks powerfully of what is going on at sea borders across the world as refugees flee terror to seek a better life. As I was speaking this morning I thought of a visit to an anti-slavery museum in the Caribbean and of the diagrammes there of slaves chained head to toe in the hulls of the ships. Those who reached the destination imposed on them could hardly be described as fortunate.
Christ has much to do walking on the troubled waters of our times, helping those at risk of drowning and exhaustion to reach dry land.