There are many ways to drown!
Whilst the Gospel takes us to the Sea of Galilee, in reality an inland lake, in Victoria we are experiencing other forms of drowning; the state of disaster declaration, curfew in Melbourne, stay at home for all in country Victoria, endless news bulletins and Covid -19 graphs taking the place of football ladders! At least Peter could see Jesus and a physical hand came to his rescue.
And masks. Drowning now in lack of facial recognition.
The scholars tell us that the thrust of Matthew’s Gospel was to demonstrate to his community, principally made up of former worshippers at the temple, that Jesus, who said, “It is I”, is really the one who does what God does and speaks as God speaks. For centuries, their scriptures spoke about the deeds of the living God. Note the anguish, “mental anguish” in Paul’s words to us today. He reminds us of his brothers of Israel, of their chosen status, and ends recalling that “They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all, God, for ever blessed!”
Life in the early communities was anything but easy. Sure, there was an initial wave of believers. As always, things settle and then generation after generation are made, like the disciples, to go on ahead to the other side.
There will be “the other side” to our current storm. He who said that he would be with us always to the end of the ages, is still able to come across the waters.
Perhaps, like Peter, we need to learn again how to cry out “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water”.