Lord, Save Me!

But when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me”. (Matthew 14:30)

Sinking swiftly below his problems, Peter tried everything to overcome. His job wasn’t enough to maintain the life he desired, so he maxed out more than a few credit cards. Peter didn’t want to worry his wife, so he’d fake a smile and say it was all okay. Secretly he began to resent everything. His boss who didn’t pay him enough. His family who required so much of what little he made. The cost of milk that had clearly gone up in the past several months. Before he could manage to cap it off, his anger and bitterness overtook him. He was utterly unpleasant.

Then he lost his job. And then he lost it. He saw no hope. He refused to talk to his wife. She could no longer tolerate his demeanor and suggested separation. He retorted, “why don’t we just call it quits?” So they did. The house, Peter’s pride and joy, was foreclosed.

Peter hated it all. Nothing was going the way he wanted and there was nothing he could do. He began masking the emotions with alcohol, always needing more to keep the feelings at bay.

Peter was sinking and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. So he cried out in a last ditch effort to One who could. “Lord, save me!” Simple words spoken by a man drowning as a direct result of his rash decision to join Jesus on a walk across (not around, but across) the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a terrible storm. For awhile, Peter walked on top of water. Stop and imagine that for a moment! With waves crashing all around him, rain falling, thunder clapping, lightning striking, wind howling and his eyes on his Lord only, Peter walked on water! But then he realized where he was! He was in the middle of a raging storm and what he was doing wasn’t remotely possible. He removed his eyes from Jesus. He looked at the eleven fearful men back in the boat. He saw the storm. He became afraid. Overwhelmed. This was impossible.

Just as he thought it, he proved himself right. It isn’t possible to stand on top of water. It isn’t possible to face the raging storms in our lives on our own. Oh, sure we can put on a good show for awhile, but the more we try, the more we struggle and strive, the deeper under water we find ourselves.

The only hope for both of our Peters was for Jesus to reach out His hand, take hold of them, and drag them back to the safety of the boat. “Lord, save me!”

How often we try to tread the waters. How often we forget that Jesus is standing mere inches in front of us. Standing on top of the things overwhelming us, ready to reach out His nail-marked hand and save us. “Lord, save me!” A holy refrain from the lips of His faithful. May it be also upon your lips.

Lord, save me! Amen.

 

No Division

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

In a culture where even our divisions have divisions, Paul’s words to the Corinthians may appear as impossible to you as it did to those who first heard him. Over the course of time, we’ve divided ourselves into neat boxes; handy categories. Either you’re a Republican or a Democrat. You’re either straight or gay. You’re pro-life or you’re pro-choice. You’re either completely for the president and his policies or you’re completely opposed to them. Nice little convenient divisions, wouldn’t you say? And that’s just our politics!

Now consider the church. The place where Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians should ring through most clearly. Yet they don’t seem to. Often it isn’t the Word of God alone that governs our lives or our theology. We frequently believe ourselves wise enough to add to or take away from His word. Or perhaps we think we can climb into the mind of the Lord and ascertain what He “really means” by what He says.

We are a divided people. And that’s no good. Jesus would have us unified. Is Christ divided? Does He say one thing and do another? Does He categorize everyone into nifty little packages and set us aside until He has use for us? No way! The only division Jesus is okay with is the division between the “sheep” and the “goats”; between the redeemed and those who have rejected Him. You are either for Jesus or you are against Him. This division cuts to the heart of the matter.

Those who are in Christ are united. Christ has banded us together from all time and all places. A rag-tag group of sinners made right by the power of His shed blood. And it’s in that very blood we are given unity. In the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we become one. Just as Jesus is one with His Father and we are all one with Jesus, so He makes us one together in His name.

Unity is not agreeing to disagree. Unity is Christ bringing us together in His Word and His Sacraments. Unity is not coexistence. Unity is Christ alone forgiving us all our sins for the sake of His sacrifice on the cross. Unity is not quietly holding grudges. Unity is brothers and sisters in Christ shoulder to shoulder at the altar receiving the goods as only Jesus can provide.

That we would strive toward unity in the Truth revealed to us by God’s own words. That all disputes, especially those in the church, would be seen in the light of His Word. That we would submit to the authority of our Lord. That all brokenness and disunity would be healed and restored by Jesus. O, that He would bring about His perfect unity among us!

Even in the midst of a culture that has lost all desire for unity, Christ and His church shine brightly as He creates unity and keeps us unified in Him. May we be of one mind; Christ’s mind!

Lord Jesus, try as we might, we are unable to bring forth true unity. For this we rely on you. Therefore, unify us in your Word and Truth! Amen.