Gn 19:15-29; Ps 26:2,3,9-12; Mt 8:23-27
To live life abundantly means that we reveal the glory of God because we see the face of the Lord. Without such a faith filled vision we do not live abundantly. All the saints and martyrs remembered the LORD daily, and faithfully lived the covenant they professed with their mouths. These bold witnesses did not hate the discipline of the LORD, even when that discipline demanded the ultimate sacrifice. These holy witnesses heard and responded to the kingdom-urgency of the Lord Jesus. They freely abandoned the rewards of a self-centered culture and wholeheartedly embraced the Kingdom of God, already here and yet to come. Lot came to know that there is no time for hesitancy, and in the great mercy of the LORD he was pushed out of Sodom just in the nick of time. We too are amazed at the glory and power of the Lord Jesus in the midst of the storms of our lives; indeed, nothing will prevent his ultimate triumph and glorious victory. His Kingdom is on the way. This is the Kingdom to which we are summoned every time we celebrate this Eucharist, for where the King reigns there is the Kingdom.
How often do we hesitate to leave the sinful places in our lives? How many times have we been seized by the hands of God’s Mercy and been led to safety outside the city? Even after such moments of rescue, we still must cooperate with the Lord’s grace. We cannot look back or stop on the way. Lingering is not healthy. We must get off the plains to the nearby hills, even to the Mountain of the Lord. Once we have been rescued by the Angels of the LORD, we must begin to climb the mountain to meet the LORD, face to face. The blazing fury of his wrath is contained in his loving gaze. He hates sin and loves sinners. When he looks on us with love the LORD purifies us of our iniquities. For whatever reason, Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. This is a warning for each of us who turn back after we have placed our hands upon the plow. There are consequences to our behavior. We cannot dally in our desires for the world, the flesh, or the devil. If we do, we will be paralyzed. We will be unable to move to safety. The LORD is kind and merciful, and this is the day of salvation. Hesitation or turning back will not bring us to the Mountain of the LORD where we will see him face to face.
Today we find ourselves in the boat with the Lord Jesus. Again a violent storm catches us by surprise. The safety of our church, the bark of Peter, is being threatened by the waves, and the Lord seems to be asleep. Just as our ancestors in the faith had the courage to cry out in fear, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” so, too, we must pray. Indeed, these storms come our way to test our faith. We need to have this kind of danger in order to learn trust. We need to admit our fear in order to grow in faith. We need to pray honestly. Yet, even in this humble prayer, the LORD challenges us with an even greater power than that with which he challenged the storm. He asks us the painful question, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Indeed, why are we terrified? Perhaps we have yet to discover what sort of man this is whom even the winds and the sea obey. Perhaps we have yet to obey the Lord Jesus who has invited us into the boat. He is with us. Is that not enough? He even responds to our fear of perishing with a power greater than our fear. He responds with a power that amazes us, unworthy and untrusting as we are. Indeed, the storm within us is also subject to his power. Indeed, we can handle any fear when we know that the Lord Jesus is in the boat with us. We can awaken him, and he will save us.