Year A Proper 12 WEDNESDAY, 29 July 2020 St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA “Truly Seeing” Collect: O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Mark 6:47-56 When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
Jesus cannot win for losing. After feeding thousands, and taking a well-deserved time alone, he sends the disciples in the boat on ahead. He takes some personal care time, and after catching his breath, he catches up with the disciples, like only he can. He walks on the water to catch up to them. They thought it had to be a ghost. The Greek for ghost here is phantasma, by the way. A word we still use. Why is it that we see what we want to see instead of what is? Really. If one of his close followers had looked, they would have seen Jesus. We do it the same way. We see what we want to see, no matter the evidence against it. Human nature is what it is. We all have seen one of those optical tricks, where you cannot see something, but once you do, you cannot unsee it. You have trained your brain to “see” the trick. Maybe we need to do that with God. Even though the disciples saw Jesus with their eyes, they could not fathom the thought that someone, especially someone they knew, could do the impossible so their minds convinced them that the image they had was a ghost not Jesus. (And this is after seeing him feed thousands after practically nothing.) Then we have this juxtaposed with the other side of the lake, the land of heathens. Keepers of pigs, and the like. And what do they see? They recognize Jesus, and they expect the miraculous, and it happens. They bring the sick and incurable, and just by touching his hem they are healed. They see what they want to see, a miracle, and they get what they see. I challenge all of us today, look with your eyes, and see the truth. Look with your heart, and expect God to do great things. Those who have eyes, let them see! Amen