Swirls of water crash on my boat. The wind is tugging the ropes from my hands, as I try to pull in the sail. “Hold Fast!” “Take the Line.” “Bring her into the wind!” Take heart.
One time, when I was sailing across the lake, a storm like this came up. It was just as furious. Waves crashed against the boat that my father built with his father when he was a child. Now I have this boat, and the waves were tugging at the joints and joists of wood.
I thought the ribbing would come clear off the hull. Water was crashing in. My feet were soaked. My tunic was drenched. Water lashed against my face as I strained to see the shore.
The teacher was in the boat that time, asleep. He had spent all day, all week, all month speaking to the hoards of people following him like sheep. We were all thirsty for his words. Though we did not always understand them, we did always want to hear more. But it is a lot to give, to speak such words to so many. So he was asleep. In spite of the storm.
We wanted to let him sleep, but the sail was beginning to rip, and the rocks of the channel were close by. If the boat began to break up we wanted him to be ready to swim to shore with us.
I learned to swim when I was a child. I would jump out of the boat while my father wasn’t looking and see how far away I could go before he called me back. I became a strong swimmer. I don’t swim as much now, I have to watch the nets and take care that the boat is in good repair. I take care of this boat. My father taught me well.
But when our teacher woke up, in the midst of the storm, instead of preparing to jump overboard so to not get caught in the wreckage, he stepped out to the side. We were afraid he would fall in unprepared. But instead of jumping, he spoke. We couldn’t hear his words, the storm muffled them, but we know he spoke with his power. His power that we don’t really understand. It scares us more than we want to admit. He spoke. And the waves calmed. The skies cleared. The storm disappeared.
He is not here with us now, he will meet us across the shore. How he will get there, we don’t know. And this storm is just as bad as before. We are going crazy with this. We are beginning to see things that just cannot be there. This cannot be. No. That is not a man on the water. There is not another boat out there. It is not possible. What is that? Who is that? A ghost? I know that there are sirens on the ocean, and this lake seems large, but it really is not that big. Where are the rocks? Is that where he is? Who can that be?
My hands are bleeding from the rope burning and straining in my grasp. They sting with the salt water biting into them.
But I have to know. Who is that? Can it be? It is not possible. Surely not possible.
Where is that man going? He will surely sink. He doesn’t even know how to swim! Especially in this water.
But wait. What is going on? He isn’t sinking…
I know the rocks are not here.
…And he begins to sink. He is going down in the water and now it will be both Peter and our Lord who are ghosts out on the water.
Why has this storm come up on us like this? What are we going to do? Where are we going to end up?
And why is Peter not sinking anymore? It is just not possible.
I trust in our Teacher, in our Lord, but this…
This I do not understand.