Trusting in Possibility of “Water Walking”

Trusting in Possibility of “Water Walking”

David A. Gilmore


Come,” [Jesus] said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:29-31


So, what will YOU be doing during the special session of the General Conference later this month?

As I have traveled across the breadth and depth of our wonderfully diverse annual conference, there have been a myriad of opinions expressed about the what and how of this gathering; however, what keeps tickling my spirit is the why?  Why are we fighting each other when we “Christians” have been called to make disciples, love the Lord our God with our whole being; and love our neighbors as ourselves?

Seems to me we are focusing on everything, but the main things. And, maybe . . . just maybe if we actually focused on Christ, we would overcome all of the “stuff” that is preventing us from living into the calling God has made on the lives of our faith communities . . . maybe!

It is when Jesus calls Peter out of the safety of the boat that he begins walking on the chaos, uncertainty, scariness, and unknown depths of the water. But, what is encouraging is that Peter actually is going where Jesus went . . . in the manner Jesus went! Peter becomes a “water walker” because he accepts the invitation from Jesus and focuses on Jesus. What a word of hope and encouragement for congregations trying to find the courage to step out of their “boats”.

Unfortunately, Peter loses his focus, takes note of the “wind” and begins to sink. Now, I do not claim to know the future, but I am one who believes that, if we, that is our Church, continue focusing on the “winds” around us, we will continue to operate out of focus and continue to sink in importance to those who need Christ most . . . the last, least and lost!

Every faith community with whom I work can attest to the fact that I do not ask whether they are progressive or conservative, or members of a certain caucus, or leaning in a certain direction theologically. I don’t ask, because that is not what’s most important . . . to me. What is important is helping congregations and their leaders to regain our focus seeking out the One who enables us to become “water walkers” offering relevance and purpose to those who believe the church is passé and no longer necessary.

Because the Lord knows I occasionally need affirmation, there have been some wins in my work with faith communities who may have little faith and much doubt, but still believe God has kept them for a reason. I am referring to congregations who have prayerfully decided to move beyond what make them comfortable trusting that God is able and wanting to make them water walkers. In the wins we find courage to look past the winds believing that Jesus calls us to walk in holiness as we manifest the love of Christ to every one we meet . . . and that gives me hope leading into February! What about you?

Stepping away from my window . . .