Rev. Jim Horton
This morning, in St. John’s account of the Gospel, we heard of two miracles associated with Jesus. The first is the feeding of the five thousand, where Jesus, confronted by 5000 hungry people, takes five loaves of bread and two fishes, blesses them, and provides sufficient food for everyone with some food left over. We are then told that, later on, Jesus’ disciples are having trouble responding to the wind striking their boat. They see Jesus, walking on the water, and they say, “Come help us and get in the boat.” And Jesus says, “It is I, do not be afraid”, and the disciples are then able to get to the shore. Two stories of Jesus performing some very interesting acts; one, that relieved the hunger of thousands of people and the second, brings his close friends out of danger. These are certainly interesting stories but for me, at this time, are the words of Jesus when he said, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
We, as the current disciples of Jesus, are called to make a leap of faith and believe our Lord when he spoke, “It is I, do not be afraid.” There is however, a second calling associated with that leap of faith, and it is the calling to be Jesus’ ambassadors to those who face difficult and trying times in their lives. We are not going to perform large miracles nor walk on water as our Lord did, but our presence in the lives of others as ambassadors of our Lord may offer some sustenance, strength and hope to those during difficult and trying times. We do not have to be eloquent preachers of Jesus, calling them to some kind of faith commitment; rather we simply have to be with them living in a manner pleasing to our Lord.
It may be holding our child or a child close to us who has had a bad day in the classroom, or perhaps someone or ones had said something belittling him. We can, for the moment , be the arms of our Lord for that child. We may find a family member or a neighbor who is frustrated or grieving and by our presence may in fact assuage some of their frustration or grief. We may, as a community or a service club, find ways to assist families financially; certainly offerings through a food bank, food that may assuage their hunger. In that instant, we perform works similar to our Lord when he fed the 5000.
We cannot perform magnificent miracles in the manner in which our Lord did. But dear friends, we can do and be as Jesus did; we can be present and offer whatever gifts or talents we have within us; and that presence may in fact, at least for a time, allow folks to feel that “they do not have to be afraid.” May God give each of us the will to be such an ambassador to those God places before us at various times and in various circumstances.