Summary: Communion Message for September 6, 2009 and the introduction to the Fall 2009 series, “Getting Your Feet Wet!”
People who are learning to speak English as a second language probably wonder what a phrase like ‘he risked life and limb’ really means. What does it mean? According the freedictionary.com it means, “to do something dangerous where you might get hurt.” (Source: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com)
(Slide 1) This leads me to ask this morning, “In following Jesus Christ, do we risk life and limb?” I say yes. In fact, I say that we risk more than life and limb, we risk our very lives, we risk our reputations, we risk our wealth, our health, and a host of other things in following Jesus Christ.
I think that for a long time, we have not heard about the risks of following Jesus. But, I am beginning to hear it more and more these days.
To follow Jesus is a costly, very costly thing to do. Either it is following Jesus or it is not. That’s not me talking, that is Jesus Himself.
But, I also suggest this morning that following Jesus is an absolutely wonderful experience as well. It takes us to places where there is joy, peace, love, forgiveness, and true life; among other things.
The choice is in the willingness to take Jesus’ way and not another one. It is a daily choice, a choice implied in Jesus’ call to “take up your cross and follow me.”
Today, as we prepare for Communion, the very thought of Communion reminds us how truly dangerous it is to follow Jesus Christ. For the Communion table again reminds us this day as we eat the body broken for us and drink the wine that is the blood of the New Covenant of the cost of following and obedience.
Today also marks the beginning of our fall series, “Get Your Feet Wet.” We are going to linger around Matthew 14:25-32 that recalls the well-known story of Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water.
“Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.
Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “It’s all right,” he said. “I am here! Don’t be afraid.”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.” “All right, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink.
“Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.”
Here is where we are headed over the next eight weeks.
Next week we are going to examine the “Call to Get Out!” What does it mean to get out of our boat? What does the boat represent to us? What did Jesus mean when He called to Peter, “Come!”
Then we are going to consider “The Wall called ‘Fear’” Fear is a big thing these days. We have financial fears, we have political fears, we have family fears, and we have occupational fears. But not all fear is bad. Not fearing the bear that is coming at you at full throttle is dumb… even on the other side of the glass at the zoo!
But, fear is one the biggest spiritual enemies we face and one of Satan’s greatest weapons. While I believe we cannot eradicate fear because it is one the results of the Fall of humanity; I also believe that we do not have to let fear run and ruin our lives. How do we, with God’s help, overcome our fears?
The following Sunday we will examine God’s antidote to fear “I will be with you…” How is God with us in our fears? What does God’s presence mean for us in the midst of the churning waves of life?
Then the Sunday after Apple Festival (Communion will be served on Apple Festival Sunday) we are going to ask Peter “Is That Your Final Answer?” Saying yes to God is risky business. But, saying yes to God is also not a misguided calculation that creates unnecessary anxiety but a confident trust in God’s ability to help us get out of our own boats.