This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on January 24, 2016.
Most of us live in the world of ordinary miracles. Seasons come and go, children are born and grow up, and planets keep moving along their predestined paths. Rarely does the ground tremble when we pray or lightning flash when we worship. Most days are just normal… and normal is miraculous enough if we are wise enough to see it.
Nehemiah lived in a time of ordinary miracles. In the story of Nehemiah, there are no sea-splitting acts of God like there are in Exodus. The walls of Jericho don’t crumble and fall. Just because fire doesn’t fall from heaven doesn’t mean miracles didn’t happen in Nehemiah.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on June 21, 2015.
Water. Chaos. Danger. Terror. Fear. Rescue. Safety. Resolution. This could be a scene out of a popular movie. The drama is palpable and the language is that of an author who was present for these events. It’s urgent and real and personal.
The details of the story leave all kinds of interesting questions to ask. Why were they leaving the crowd? Jesus says, “let’s go,” and then they “took him” “just as he was.” What’s the significance of “how he was?” Why were they leaving at night? What’s the role of the boat, which Jesus had already used as a pulpit? Why were they going to the other side of the sea? Why leave after night had fallen? And what of the “other boats who were along with them?” The story leaves open lots of questions, some of which are explored by the commentators, some not.