Friday, January 11, 2013

Walk on Water

Friday, January 11, 2014  -- The Epiphany and Following (Year One)

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office

     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 942)
Psalms 148, 150 (morning)    //    91, 92 (evening)
Isaiah 65:13-16
Revelation 3:7-13
John 6:15-27

In some sense, every day is a matter of walking on water.  Life is so chaotic, stormy, and uncontrollable.  The winds of circumstance blow beyond our meager means.  We start one thing and suddenly something else demands our attention.  Sometimes you can only see the one big wave coming at you, but you know there are more behind it.  Some times are darker than others, but the certain final sunset of death relentlessly approaches.  Yet we walk through it all somehow.

So often the question is simply this:  Will I or will I not be anxious or afraid?

In John's account of Jesus' walking on the water, as Jesus approaches the boat to encounter the fearful disciples, Jesus speaks to them saying, "I am.  Don't be afraid."  This translation -- Jesus saying, "I am" -- is from the Common English Bible.  A footnote offers an alternative translation, "It is I.  Don't be afraid."

In John's gospel Jesus is identified with the mysterious name of God -- "I am."  I am the Bread of Life.  I am the Light of the World.  I am the Gate.  I am the Good Shepherd.  I am Resurrection and Life.  I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  I am the Vine.

When we are spiritually or emotionally famished and hungry for meaning and substance, he is our bread.  When we are in darkness he is our light.  When we are stuck or blocked he is the gate.  He is the Good Shepherd who guides us along right pathways.  He brings life out of death, resurrection from every loss.  In him we find our way, we rest in truth, we relax into life.  We can abide in him as a branch abides in the vine.

In the frightening storm, God is with us -- "I am" is with us -- Jesus is with us.  Like God's leading the slaves through the water, out of their bondage in Egypt into the journey toward freedom and the promised land, so Jesus walks with us through all of the storms of our lives.  Do not be afraid, he tells us.  I am with you.

As corny as it may sound, a chorus from Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel comes into my ears.  "Walk on.  Walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone.  You'll never walk alone."  We never walk alone.  


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woke to poetry running through my head. Said prayers and was inspired by your reflection.

The great I AM. A comfort, a presence, a knowing. The great I AM. Means the earth echoes the glory of God. Trees, flowers, snow covered sage brush, the moon, You, I, all can choose to reflect and take part in this glory. Guns, violence, words of malice, conflict, rape, abuse, war and weapons are feeble attempts at selfish control. The great I AM means all is well, all will be well, neither death, nor principalities, nor famine, nor flood can move this world from the harmony and the love from which it was created, from its essence, from I AM as the very axis of our collective being. Nothing is separate from this great Love. The earth spins, the world floats into morning light, lovers whisper honeyed words of devotion, a child cries, a mother prays, the great I AM listens, watches, loves, protects, embraces and enfolds ALL in Love. As the dew of the morning covers each tiny blade of grass, so too does God’s Love abide in this realm, touching everything, soul, spirit, flesh with the gentleness of infinite peace.

Have a blessed, peace filled day,

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, it is not corny--it is awesome. But sometimes it is so hard to remember. We get ourselves into situations and try and try to figure out what to do--when all we really need to do is turn it over to God and either He'll handle it or He'll show us what to do. Why do we always feel that we can handle things--this is human, but also a sin--trying to play God almost. And doing that repeatedly can get us into trouble. We do not want to get into that habit. I am working on trying to remember to turn everything over to God. When I do, things go so much better. Help me to remember, Lord!
Rebecca Atwood

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Lowell said...

Janet and Rebecca,

Thanks for the beautiful posts.



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