My favorite preacher of all time died about a year ago. Fred Craddock is considered one of the best preachers of the last 100 years. He was funny and folksy and you wouldn’t even realize, in the midst of that congenial manner, that he was all the while—as another famous preacher has described it—doing “open-heart surgery on you.” Here is a piece of a sermon he gave entitled “Faith and Fear” which he based on the Matthew 14 text where Jesus walks across stormy water to his disciples in a boat.
“The sermon Matthew preaches is a sermon to the church. It is a sermon for all of the followers of Jesus in all our little boats in all of the storms, trying to make it alone. The disciples were not alone, but they were trying to make it alone—and they couldn’t. That is a hard lesson to learn. The church is never, you are never, I am never exempt from the temptation to try to go it alone…
“In the boat—we are all in the boat—we can give pep talks to each other. ‘We’ll make it. Some of you bail, we’re going make it.’ We can start whistling and singing. But the plain fact is that without trust in God, we are not going to make the shore. But if we trust in God, ‘we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.’”
Please join me in a prayer for the mission and ministry of our church and of all churches that seek to follow Jesus:
Lord Jesus, we too are in the boat. And we row and row and row. Help us to remember that you are waiting to join us in this boat, waiting to calm the storms that can surround us. And help us to welcome you in and turn to you as the source of our strength and our peace. In your holy name we pray. Amen.
Christ’s peace be with you this week,