Matthew 14:22-33 (NRSV)
22Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." 28Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
When Peter sinks and cries for help, Jesus reaches out to catch him and asks, “Why did you doubt? Why did you dance back and forth between following me and heeding fear?” (VOICE translation). Yes, we are doubters and dancers. We rock back and forth between following Jesus and fearing change. We waltz with joy at hearing God’s call to ministry but sit out from the long, slow dance-line of folks mourning with need. We doubt because we’ve never done it this way before. We are afraid of moving from our way to God’s way.
Yet day by day Jesus comes and calls us into the chaos, reaching out to help us move beyond our fears. “The point,” says Rilke, “is to live your way into the answer,” strengthened by God’s constant presence and abiding love (Letters to a Young Poet, 1903).
O Lord, grant us faith to live your way, reaching out to our neediest neighbors. Amen.