Here is a story from the Bible.
From Matthew’s account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
And, just in case you were wondering or interested, this is the Paul Alcorn version of the story.
After Jesus and his disciples had been with the crowd of people for several days, Jesus instructed his disciples to get into a boat and travel to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowd. After the disciples had left and the crowds had been dismissed, Jesus went off by himself to pray. Morning found the disciples still far out on the lake because they had been battling wind and waves all night. As the darkness gave way, Jesus appeared walking across the water towards the boat. When the disciples saw him they thought they were seeing a ghost and were deathly afraid. But Jesus called out to them saying, “Fear not. It is me.” Peter replied, “Jesus if it really is you (and you are not just a ghost) bid me come to you walking on the water like you are walking on the water. Jesus said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water towards Jesus. But, then, instead of looking at Jesus, Peter began to look around at the wind and the waves. And, in that moment he began to sink. As he was about to sink beneath the waves, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt.”
This is a wonderful story we would do well to remember.
The question it poses to us is this:
When the wind and the waves threaten to undo your life and pull you under, where do you look?
I share this story with you this morning because, while we are 9 days late according to the Christian liturgical calendar, this morning we remember and celebrate All Saints Day. And, not just the great, well known saints – St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Francis – who are a part of our religious history as Christians, but the saints who make up that cloud of witnesses who surround our lives.
Those saints who saw in us something beyond what we, at the time, were able to see in ourselves.
Those saints whose faith and witness and commitment inspired our own faith and witness and commitment.
Those saints who, as long as we keep our eyes looking in their direction, help to keep us on track rather than sink beneath the wind and waves of our lives.
For me, among those people are Richard Bell and Sister Pauline and John David Burton.
Ordinary people who were and are saints in my life.
I wonder who they are for you.
A parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle?
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses;
May we remember and give thanks.