John 6:11-13, 16-21
Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.
When evening came, Jesus' disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.
A Sermon for Jack
Jesus feeds the multitudes. They eat. They are satisfied. But then things are a mess. Fragments, broken pieces everywhere.
We can relate to broken, can't we. Right now, we understand being fragmented. We can relate to "mess." All our questions that have no answers we can see. For us, it is a mess. But Jesus tells the disciples to gather up all the fragments, so that nothing may be lost. Nothing.
All our fragments. All our broken-ness is gathered up for God. Nothing is lost to God. Nothing.
The disciples travel on ahead, get in the boat, head on to the other side. Jesus waits and prays. In the midst of broken-ness and fragmentation, it is a good thing for us to wait, and to pray. To wait with Jesus while we mourn and with all that we don't understand, with all the unanswerable questions.
In the boat, a storm comes up. The wind is violent. The night is dark. What will they do? What can they do? All just might be lost.
Then, Jesus comes to them, walking on the water. The disciples are terrified. This is impossible. They weren't expecting this; they cannot believe Jesus would show up like this. It is against all their expectations. And yet, here he is. His there in the storm, the turmoil, the wind, and the darkness. And in that darkness, Jesus says, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
He does not give reproof or judgment. He does not scold or deride them. He tells them "Do not be afraid." Then, he gets into the boat with them. He willingly gets into the middle of their turmoil, their darkness, their fear. Jesus gets into the boat. And the storm ends. There is peace. And immediately, they arrive where they were going. They reach home, they are safe.
Perhaps they could have rowed through the storms themselves. But they did not know that.
Maybe Jack didn't, either.
But when Jesus comes to them, he does not judge or reprove or scold. He says "It is I. Do not be afraid." And the storm stops. And the boat reaches the shore. They are home. And the same is true for Jack.
Even though we do not understand. We believe that God does. After all, God collects all our fragments, all our broken-ness. Nothing is lost. Nothing.
We pray for God's grace to help us live with our questions.
We should take time, and wait, and pray with Jesus.
We should be disciples for one another and help gather in the fragments.
And always remember, in the midst of the worst storms, or the deepest darkness, Jesus comes to us and says, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
Farewell dear Jack. Fear not. Your storm is over. Your darkness is now filled with light.
You are safe.
Fear no more.