Psalm 36, 147:12-20
Can you remember a time when you had blown it?
It's taken me a long time to get over my over 10 year career in Seminary, because I think something about school always puts you on high alert for blowing it. Often times you find yourself in a position where a bad paper, or a less than stellar exam performance can be the difference between success and failure. And to any of our readers who are currently in seminary and dealing with the scourge of finals, our prayers are with you.
Something about the risk of blowing it can create a kind of anxiety that is unique all on it's own. Even when things are going well, there's a risk that right around the corner, something could go wrong.
Take the disciples for instance. In our Gospel lesson today, the disciples are traveling with Jesus, and they left something off the packing list. I imagine that one of the the 12 of them was in charge of bringing the food. Team chef, if you will. And somehow between Jesus offending the Pharisees and Sadducees and getting in the boat, the chef left the bread bag on the shore. Maybe he then tells his buddies to see if anyone can bail him out. No dice. The team chef has absolutely blown it.
Now the anxiety is filling the boat. Would they try to hide it? Would they be able to sneak someone off to town when they landed, get some bread, and get back before Jesus noticed? No that's not going to work. Now maybe they're wondering how exactly Jesus is going to react. Is he going to yell? Is he going to kick one of us out and make us go back to our fishing gig? Or maybe he'll just do that thing some people do when they're mad. No yelling. No screaming. Just disappointment.
And perhaps because they were filling in with their minds what would happen once Jesus discovered that they blew it, they missed entirely what Jesus was trying to say to them. Their Savior and King is sitting right in front of them, trying to give them a warning about the false teachers they run into day after day after day, but they just can't hear it. Their minds are elsewhere.
Look, we all screw up from time to time. We all have those moments in life that we wish we could take back. We recognize moment where we weren't our best selves. And I think it's only natural to imagine the disappointment that this brings our Savior. We don't want to disappoint the God who loves us so much, and yet we fall in to it again and again and again. Confession is critical to the faith. We come before God and each other and admit our faults, because we're not naive enough to think we don't have any.
But we can't get stuck there. We can't be so caught up in our thoughts that we miss what Jesus is saying in the boat right next to us. Especially because I think for most of us the word that Jesus whispers is "I've got this. Remember how I've gotten you out of that jam time and time again? There's nothing that will limit me from doing it this time too. So relax. Take a deep breath. Have some faith."
Maybe we blew it. Maybe even recently. But I think this passage is telling us today that Jesus has a much stronger word of forgiveness than we can even imagine.