Pew Sermon for Sunday 13th August

Many people have a secret phobia. I am pretty scared of heights, for example.

My mother-in-law has very bad claustrophobia, and won’t get into a lift if she can possibly avoid it.

And many others are scared of this, that and the other.

My gym friend, who has limbs of solid steel and a chest made of titanium, one tough guy, is scared of water, and won’t go swimming.

Many years ago, my brother-in-law used to work for a charity called Phobic Relief.The idea was that if – for example – you were scared of spiders, you could get trained to confront your fears by handling the little creepy crawlies. (I mean, why on earth would you want to do that?)

And don’t get me started on the urban myth that you swallow 20 spiders in your sleep over your lifetime. The spider folks assure us that NO ONE, leave alone a spider, fancies crawling inside a small moist hole, which is alternating blasts and suctions of hot moist air. To say nothing of the snoring…

I have no idea what Phobic Relief would recommend for my fear of heights.

A bungee jump, perhaps? Sorry, it’s really not for me.

I did manage to climb up inside the tower of Salisbury Cathedral last year, and the view from the viewing balcony is amazing.

But it would take, I think, a seasoned climber to go that little bit further, and go right up inside the very top of the Spire. Apparently, the guy that repairs the tiles not only climbs up to the top on the inside, but then climbs onto the outside once a year, just for fun. And I think there was a BBC presenter that did it as well.

Personally, I feel sick just at the thought! 

I wonder what Peter the Fisherman thought, in our gospel passage this week, as he saw Jesus walking on the water, and wanted to do the same, and took that first stepof faith, over the side of the boat?

I think it takes a person of some courage to step out of the boat, and not think you are about to sink like a stone into the cold water. 

But of course, in looking at Christ, and stretching out your hand to Him, all things are possible.

Until of course, you look at the waves, and start to sink again!

I think many of us are very fond of the big west wall stained glass window at St.Peters Church. The stilling of the storm. There are so many stories about Jesus and boats and fish and fisherman. Clearly God has many things to say through our everyday lives and experiences. And almost all of them are about faith.

Not blind faith in the unknown, but in looking at Christ, and taking that first, most difficult step of faith, and seeing where it leads us. 

Because in my experience, the second step is always easier.

Enough said, I think

Have a good week everyone, and keep in touch if you can.