Walk Across That Water

Image: Walk Across That Water © Jan Richardson

Reading from the Gospels, Year A, Proper 14/Ordinary 19/Pentecost +9: Matthew 14.22-33

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him.
– Matthew 14.31

Eight months have passed since Gary’s death: a moment, an aching eternity. I can tell you that I know what it means to be borne up when the waters overwhelm. I know the grace of hands that reach out to carry and console and give courage. I am learning—again, anew—what faith is, how this word that we sometimes toss around so casually holds depths within depths that will draw us beyond nearly everything we once believed.

This is some of what I know right now about faith:

That faith is not something I can summon by a sheer act of will.

That it lives and breathes in the community that encompasses us.

That I cannot force faith but can ask for it, can pray that it will make its way to me and bear me up over the next wave, and the next.

That it comes.

That I can lean into it.

That it will propel me not only toward the Christ who calls me, but also back toward the boat that holds my life, incomprehensible in both its pain and its grace.

What are you knowing about faith right now? Where is it bearing you?

Blessing that Bears the Wind, the Wave

That we will risk
the drenching
by which we
are drawn
toward the voice
that calls us,
the love
that catches us,
the faith
that carries us
beyond the wind,
the wave.

Blessing of Song: At the time of his death, Gary had nearly finished recording a wondrous new Song Chapel CD. One song, titled “Let Me Out of This Boat,” was inspired by this passage. I would love to share the song with you; you can listen to it by clicking the arrow on the audio player below. [For my email subscribers: if you don’t see the audio player, click here to go to The Painted Prayerbook site, where you can view the player in this post.]

P.S. For a previous reflection on this passage (which includes “Blessing on the Waves”), click the image or title below:

Night Passage
Blessing on the Waves

Using Jan’s artwork…
To use the image “Walk Across That Water,” please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. (This is also available as an art print. After clicking over to the image’s page on the Jan Richardson Images site, just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section.) Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words…
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

20 Responses to “Walk Across That Water”

  1. Marcia Says:

    Walking across the waves today. Thank you for reminding me what I am doing!

  2. Carol Westphal Says:

    As always, your beautiful artwork, your comments about faith and your blessing urge me onward. Thank you.

  3. Maureen Says:

    Jan, thank you for sharing ‘Let Me Out of This Boat’! It’s a wonderfully inspiring song, something so lovely left behind for all of us. May you continue to receive His blessings. May peace be with you always.

  4. Mary Dell Sigler Says:

    I too lost my husband 8 months ago after a 5 year battle w/ cancer. He and I were pastors. Your words – a moment, an eternity- are so true. I still feel like it was just yesterday and yet the months seem like forever. Bill’s faith was so strong and his last sermons were preached by only someone who knew his life was ending. Each day is still spent taking deep breaths and putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you for your words and your artwork.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Mary Dell, thank you so much, and many blessings to you as you continue to walk this path. Yes – breathing deeply, putting one foot in front of the other: this does seem to be how the road unfolds. Deep peace and grace to you. Thank you again.

  5. Jim McWhinnie Says:

    Love the words, the art, but even more, the soul and the artist. You keep teaching me about the beauty of mercy.


    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Jim, many thanks to you for your heart and for the powerful words you have been sharing from your own path. You are ministering to me, and I am grateful. You are on my heart and in my prayers. Sending many, many blessings your way.

  6. Cindy Van Lunen Says:

    I have just returned home from a week spent at
    “Cancer Camp,” white water kayaking on the Colorado River. Needless to say this post and especially Gary’s song are sure reminders of God’s grace. I am always amazed by the serendipitous nature of your posts. I cannot begin to tell you the hope that springs from Gary’s song…a hope based on the love of God and the certain hope of the resurrection in Christ Jesus. Thank you for sharing this. I plan on going out on the waves and meeting Jesus halfway!
    Love you!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thank you, Cindy! Loved catching a glimpse of you at Cancer Camp–wonderful photos. You are very present in my prayers and always on my heart. Blessings, blessings to you. Love you back!

  7. paulette boyt Says:

    “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”

    You call me out upon the waters
    The great unknown where feet may fail
    And there I find You in the mystery
    In oceans deep
    My faith will stand

    And I will call upon Your name
    And keep my eyes above the waves
    When oceans rise
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    For I am Yours and You are mine

    Your grace abounds in deepest waters
    Your sovereign hand
    Will be my guide
    Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
    You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

    So I will call upon Your name
    And keep my eyes above the waves
    When oceans rise
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    For I am Yours and You are mine

    Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
    Let me walk upon the waters
    Wherever You would call me
    Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
    And my faith will be made stronger
    In the presence of my Savior

    I will call upon Your name
    Keep my eyes above the waves
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    I am Yours and You are mine

  8. Jon Says:

    A timely post in deed. I’ve recently been seeking the Lord’s intervention in my life’s waters. I realized as I prayed for God to reveal Himself, related to the particular circumstances, that I also needed to ask God to provide the faith that would help me to truly trust Him. Thanks!

  9. Lisa Says:

    Beautiful song> Thank you for sharing it.

  10. Catherine Says:

    Jan, I hope listening to Gary’s voice gives you comfort.

    This post was timely for me. Thank you to you and Gary for the ‘courage’.


  11. Mary Anne Says:

    Oh Jan, it’s so good to have your words and Gary’s music again and it’s not even Lent or Advent! Thank you, thank you. My soul is lapping at these waters.

  12. Jan Richardson Says:

    Friends, thank you so much for your words! I am so grateful to be in the boat with you…and for your companionship on the waves. Many blessings to you.

  13. Judy Says:

    Thank you. I have missed your words…

  14. Tanda Ainsworth Says:

    Dear Jan, After taking your online Lenten retreat I purchased two of Gary’s CD’s, which I love and listen to often. Thank you for sharing his new song. Blessings on you, Dear Jan.

  15. Michael E. East Says:

    Faith in a loving God can make a huge difference in our lives.
    It can buoy us up when we are sinking and it can calm us down when we are frantic.
    God does not judge us.
    God helps us.

  16. Shelle Says:

    Jan, the serendipity of this time cannot be ignored. I am in the Keys with some of my sisters friends…All devout members of the Calvary Church. The woman whose celebrating her birthday was sitting at the table looking up a particular passage telling of Peters walking on the water when I came in. I said I thought Jesus was who walked on water which was a perfect seque for her to introduce me to the passage. My sister knows how deeply my faith was shaken several months ago . . so of course the conversation drifted toward my skepticism now and lead to me sharing your Painted Prayerbook. I read your recent message aloud. I was thrilled to find a new song written before his passing. What a message his song provided coinciding with the conversation upon my arrival. Everyone became aware of the synchronicity of hearing his calling to step out of the boat with the study of the Scriptures. Like a wave washing over me I briefly felt his presence . . .

Leave a Reply to Mary Anne Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *