I am writing a sermon on Matthew 14: 22-33,
the passage wherein Jesus invites Peter to get out of the boat and walk
on the water with him…in the midst of a storm. Peter has always seemed
to me to be the naïve, overeager, overachiever type.
The worst haircut I ever received was a $7 special at a local salon. I was in my thirties and my hair was thick and curly, the kind of hair that could hide a multitude of styling sins—but not after the $7 special. It was short in back and uneven in front, with tufts sticking out in random places. I looked like I had mange.
Walking on water is an iconic, superhero thing to do. In a mighty display of divine power, Jesus strolls across the Sea of Galilee and then stills a strong wind. No wonder the disciples are terrified by the ghostly apparition coming toward them. Ghosts, after all, are spirits without flesh-and-blood bodies.
I had a classmate at an evangelical Christian college who repeatedly defined faith as “stepping out of airplanes, knowing that God will catch you.” My response was that surely God had better things to do than catch folks stupid enough to step out of airplanes. Matthew’s story of Jesus walking on the water with Peter can spawn bad theologies.