Walking On Water

Gospel Reading:

Matthew 6:25-34

New International Version (NIV)

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Suggested list of hymns and songs

I will be with you (CCH, CHE. CHY)

Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you (CHC, HON, MP, RS)

Blessed be the name

Put your hand in the hand of the man

I want to walk with Jesus Christ

Jesus calls us o’er the tumult

Guide me O Thou great Redeemer

Hark my soul it is the Lord

Light of the world you stepped down into darkness

Will you hide me in your shelter

Father I place into your hands

Be still for the presence of the Lord

*From this moment on : CD Giving It All To you

*Be My Clear Direction; Best of United Folk

(*From This Moment and Clear Direction are both available for download from http.wwwsheilahamil.co.uk)

Children's activity

During the sermon, younger children may be provided with paper, scissors, sellotape and invited to make a boat, which can be later tested out in a water bath after the service.

Drama: Jesus Walks on Water

There’s a reading in the bible which goes something like this…

So Jesus said to his disciples,

‘Look, you go on ahead, get in the boat and go across to the other side of the lake. I’ll follow you later.

And off he went into the hills to pray, once the crowd had gone.

When evening came, Jesus looked out over the lake, and he could see the boat the disciples were in. It was being tossed about on the waves because the wind was against it.

We do know that between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Jesus went out to meet them, WALKING ON THE WATER! The disciples got the shock of their lives. They thought it was a ghost! Well wouldn’t you?

They began yelling, ‘Aaaagh!’ (scream)

Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! It’s only me!

Peter said, ‘Lord if it’s really you; tell me to come to you on the water!

‘Come Peter ’ Jesus said.

Now you might think that’s very brave of Peter, but I think he was very nervous.

I wonder how long it actually took him to pluck up his courage.

I think the story continues like this:-

Place boat in position.

(An old empty wallpaper sample catalogue, can be used, minus its pages, with wooden planks painted on the outside to resemble the prow of a boat)

Act this drama out light-heartedly. You represent Peter. The prow of the boat is in place in front of you at your feet. The sentences in bold letters represent the voice of Jesus, which booms out on microphone some distance away.

I’m coming Lord. (step out onto one foot)

Well come on then.

My foot is out of the boat, I’m coming. (raise foot outwards)

OK so place your foot on the water.

It’s on the water! (place foot on the floor)

Now, put your weight on that foot; the water will hold you up.

EEEEH I don’t believe it! (press weight onto that foot)

Now the other foot.

That’s not so easy Lord! (shake your head)

Yes it is, trust me, you’ll be fine. (put both feet out, but hold firmly to the boat.)

No I won’t!

Let go of the boat Peter,

Like this? (turn around, balance on one foot, but keep a toe on the side)

Very good, but your toe is still in the boat!

But I’m frightened! (both feet down , outside the boat)

Don’t look down, keep your eyes on me!

But the water’s very deep Lord.

Walk Peter, keep walking, you’re doing it! (walk forward unsteadily)

Am I? I am! I am! (look around and scream loudly)

AAAAGH! Look at the wave, look at the wind, HEEEELLLPPP!

Look at me! I’m sinking! (you begin to sink slowly)

No you’re not. I’ve got a hold of you!

You need more faith Peter. Why did you doubt?

It’s good to be back in the boat Lord! Did I do O.K.?

(c)Sheila Hamil

(Or you could use an alternative Drama, called Going Under: Page 40 in ‘Jesus and Peter’ by J T Bell & G Moule)


When Jesus told Peter that he was the Rock upon which he would build his church…could it be that in saying this he was outlining the kind of people he was calling as one body to be his church? Would this rock need to consist of people just like Peter who were willing to move forward with a certain amount of courage and who were eager to please God out there in the world where storms raged and winds blew.

In this reading Peter clearly demonstrates his courage.

Courage to rise . . . up and away from the security and relative comfort of the boat he was sitting in; out onto the ‘stormy seas’, where his master was himself walking.

Courage to focus . . . entirely upon Jesus, and forget about himself, and concentrate upon him. How easy it has become for us in this world to centre our lives solely upon ourselves. We are blasted from every side by the media with the enticing words, ’You need to have THIS, because you’re worth it!’ Materialism has sadly come to dominate our thinking and desensitize our spirituality.

Courage to stand up and go. . . when everyone else is in relaxed mode, just spectating. Only dead fish go with the flow, so the saying goes. Are we dead or alive in Christ, asleep or awake; comfortable or living on the edge? Have we allowed our faith to become sidelined to the point of extinction as secularism has come to dominate our worldview? These are the question all Christians need to answer? A poster once asked, If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Courage to heed the call and commit oneself to taking risks . . . ‘Come!’ says Jesus. To respond and take control of the will is so very difficult! Anne Morissy, a Christian writer, calls this stage the hardest part, for it is here, at the very point of considering the consequences of risk, that we can encounter the ‘Iron cage of Bureaucracy’; in comes all the reasons why we should NOT go forward; all of them very reasonable and plausible; but if we succumb to them we get nowhere.

But if we still go forward at this stage she says we then encounter the ‘Cascade of Grace.’ The reward of walking where Christ walked and to see the miraculous, the God- coincidences and blessings above measure happening all around us to those we reach out to.

Courage to act . . . what we tend to forget is that Peter actually walked on water a few steps, before he floundered! This is a miracle in itself. When people tell this story they seem to concentrate on Peter’s failure to trust, but they forget what he did achieve, and what lessons he teaches us today!

His courage only failed him, when he took his eyes off Jesus, and saw how high the waves were and how fierce was the wind. But he walked on water; not like the eleven others who simply sat and watched it all happen.

Peter was so impulsive, his head did not rule his heart; it was the other way around; time and again we see this in the gospels; but Jesus knew his transparent, but courageous heart, and he loved Peter for it. In the bible Jesus advised his followers to first count the cost before building a tower, here is Peter doing the very opposite! Nevertheless Jesus reached out to him, and lifted him up and saved him on his journey of faith.

Someone once said, ‘A saint is not someone who never fails, a saint is someone who gets up and goes on every time he does fail!’

Lord gave us that same courage in our Christian journey; to keep on travelling the challenging road with you.

Quote:In John Ortberg's book ‘If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat’ he says

"There is a way that leads to stagnation--unrealized potential, unfulfilled longings. It leads to a sense that I'm not living my life; the one I was supposed to live. It leads to boredom, to what poet Gregg Levoy calls the common cold of the soul... i.e.

*Sinful patterns of behaviour that never got confronted and changed *Abilities and gifts that never got cultivated and deployed

* Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;

And weeks become months and months turn into years, and one day you're looking back on a life of:

* Great bold prayers you never prayed;

* Exhilarating rides you never took;

* Sacrificial gifts you never gave;

* Lives you never touched.

"And you're sitting in a recliner with a shrivelled soul, and forgotten dreams. And you realize there was a world of desperate need, and a great God calling you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You see the person could have become but didn't. You never followed your calling. You never got out of the boat."

He says; Listen, people. Please. Whatever you do, don't be this person. God had a beautiful reason for making you. Don't waste your life waiting for the fear to go away. It never will. Seize the vision of what you could be, of what you could give, and go after it now.

You don't just owe it to yourself. You owe it to all of us.

Joke: A story goes of a hen and a pig who passed by a church one day, which was offering folks to come in and eat a hearty egg and bacon breakfast.

“Shall we go in, it sounds good?”, said the hen!

“For you that would be a small offering!” replied the pig, “for me it would be total commitment!”

Prayers to follow