Summary: Faith is a reductionism of the greatest kind. For in Jesus, the "extraordinary" is nothing more than the "ordinary" things in life PUT TOGETHER to achieve an "extraordinary" feat.
Beloved, I would like to engage your hearts and minds for the next few minutes, from the subject,
“Doing Something Extra With The Ordinary”
Beloved, in his painting “Walking on the Water”, one can nearly hear the rhythmic splashing underneath.
One can almost feel the swaying, rocking, “up and down” motion of the waves.
And upon these rambunctious tides,
it is told to us that Jesus walks.
One step after the other – he walks.
This gifted Russian painter of seascapes…
comes to mind whenever I read this text
in the gospels of Matthew, Luke, or Mark.
But Aivazovsky strokes oil upon canvas
not for the accounts of Luke or Mark
but for the one found only in Matthew,
in which Peter… is walking too.
One step after the other - Peter trudges upon this wet runway.
Beloved, this story is the type that would go viral on YouTube – it should have at least been rumor-worthy
amongst the fishermen and their families
living around this body of water in those times.
But bizarrely, it seems to have received a quiet coverage.
A handful of eyes beholding such an event
seems almost disrespectful to the scene,
even the pens of Luke and Mark not mentioning it
almost seems like lazy journalism.
Indeed, we know…
that many centuries before this gospel record was even written,
in Greek and Roman mythologies,
Poseidon and Neptune were the gods
that mastered the watery domain, the oceans,
the seas and the lakes.
Yes, we know by this time
the story of one walking atop water was not unique or new.
But still, it seems anyone strolling upon water at anytime deserves a noteworthy headline.
But all we read about it, even including Matthew’s account,
are about six measly verses.
Beloved, why - why is so little ink sacrificed to tell the tale?
Why is the saga merely a footnote on the page of history? “Why?” I ask.
Perhaps, one might answer, “all they were doing was walking.”
What’s so spectacular about taking one step after the other and walking?
It is not as if they were “waterbending” like Avatar Aang
or surfing upon the back of the Loch Ness Monster –
or even levitating or flying like E.T.
some say all Jesus and Peter did… was walk.
Now, I concede that the act of walking
is not necessarily groundbreaking anymore –
humankind has been walking for 250 thousand years-
And I also concede that the presence of water
is not necessarily spectacular either –
there is 326 million trillion gallons of water on this planet.
So, I can understand if a story just about walking
and just about water
may not be a New York Times bestseller.
These in and of themselves are just ordinary.
But what we have here is not just some water –
and not just some walking.
Beloved, what we have here rather is a scene
that displays to us what can happen,
when we take what is “ordinary”,
in this case, some water and some walking,
and put them together to do something “extraordinary”,
like someone walking on some water.
What we have here is an example of how,
that with God, “ordinary” things, people, and places,
can be put together in such a way
to do some “extraordinary” things.
Beloved, I know that is hard to believe.
The mathematics of our lives has taught us
that ordinary plus ordinary must equal ordinary.
An ordinary upbringing plus and ordinary dream
must equal an ordinary person.
An ordinary person plus an ordinary marriage
must equal an ordinary family.
An ordinary family plus an ordinary neighborhood
must equal an ordinary education.
An ordinary education plus an ordinary skill
must equal an ordinary job.
An ordinary job plus an ordinary paycheck
must equal an ordinary life.
This is our understanding of things.
We have earned PhDs in the mathematics of the ordinary.
But Beloved –
who here hasn’t cast their wishes toward heaven’s gates,
hoping to have more than just an ordinary life.
Who sets out on life’s journey
just to reach some ordinary destination?
Any of you look forward
to your obituary summarizing the story of an ordinary life?
“He was ordinary or she was ordinary.”
“They were ordinary or it was ordinary.”
There is no twinkle in that;
there is no longevity in that;
there is no “umph” in that. Ordinary? - no.
Who here wants to be in an “ordinary” relationship
or a descendent of an “ordinary” family
or attend an “ordinary” church
or achieve “ordinary” feats?
Beloved, there is something imbedded in all of us
that wants to be a part of something,
to do something, to say something, to have something,
to be something more than just “ordinary.”
But how can we be more than just “ordinary”