IT’S A NOVEL WITH A MESSAGE: OUR UNITY IS IN CHRIST; NOT THE BALLOT BOX.
Issy and I were up early on Sunday. We like to get up early and begin our study of the Word before we get ready for church. Sometimes when we’re done, we’ll go back to bed and cuddle, but we like to attend our church and we enjoy the fellowship, so we make sure we don’t doze off.
Now on Saturdays, that’s a different story. We take advantage of the time and eventually, about midmorning, make it out to our local café. But I digress.
August A.D. 29, after Feeding the Five Thousand
We had left Jesus back with all the people, when He made us cross the Lake on our own. And even though we had the four professional fishermen with us (Andrew and Peter as well as James and John), we were still struggling to get across.
All of us were rowing.[iii] And I don’t mind complaining here, that is not my forte! I’m not a fisherman. I don’t do hard labor. I shouldn’t have been in this position!
Our oars were two-man oars which meant we each had a partner rowing with us. And, I’m happy to say, with Peter pulling my oar with me, there were times I could rest, without anyone knowing I was resting.
I think I’m a good actor, so I made it look like I was strenuously working when in fact I was resting in Peter’s strength. “Hmm, I wonder if Peter noticed?”
Anyway, we had been at it nearly all night. With the winds so strong against us, we had worked hard but were still only halfway across Lake Galilee[iv] and the morning light would soon be upon us.
All of us were exhausted when Jesus started to walk by us.[v] Did you hear me? He was just going to walk right by and not help us at all!
One of the superstitious fools near me cried out calling it His ghost, and then all of us saw Him more clearly, and, well, I guess we were all dim-witted and slow because then we all started to imagine it was His ghost.[vi] Sometimes I’m so ashamed of myself.
Next thing we know, arrogant, macho Peter called out to Jesus. Well, in all fairness to Peter, Jesus had just called out to encourage us, reassuring us it was Him.[vii]
So, Peter dropped his oar. And remember, I’m attached to that oar. I had to carry the weight of all of it! I wanted to scream at Peter, but he was already off our bench and heading to the side of the boat to join Jesus.
I couldn’t manage the oar by myself, and the wind was still so strong I just stopped rowing and then I watched this idiot fisherman walk on the water. I don’t mind telling you that I inwardly chuckled when he began to sink.
They walked back to the boat and Jesus helps the big fisherman get in and then something happened which completely shocked us. As Jesus got into the boat, the wind died down and ceased its bluster![viii]
Our natural response was to worship Him,[ix] which we did. And even though I didn’t like Peter very much, one thing he said resonated with me and humbled me. “We were completely amazed,” he said. “And the reason we were amazed was because of how slow we were to recognize the meaning of the loaves and fishes on the previous day,[x] namely, He has authority over everything!”
“Yeah,” I screamed in my mind, “Jesus can solve the hunger problems of our nation, if He wants to!”
So, why, with all this power at His command, doesn’t He let us make Him king? That’s what I want to know!
January 8th, Sunday Morning, Arlington VA
“I always love that story,” Issy began.
“Why is that, baby?” I asked her.
She looked a little sheepishly at me and then confessed, “Because it makes all my times of not trusting God appear more normal.”
I chuckled and pulled her close to me.
“I agree, babe. I agree.”
We were running a little short on time, probably because we cuddled a little too much earlier, and so I jumped right into our three Bible Study Questions;
- A Surprising Challenge
- An Unusual Promise
- A Job-Related Directive
“That’s actually the challenge to me, Issy, that I would recognize and then acknowledge when fears are in me and I am not trusting Christ.”
“Hey, that’s good, babe,” she said. “The challenge for me is more subtle. And, I don’t think I ever noticed this before. When Jesus got into the boat, He didn’t command the waves to stop, they just did.”
I looked back at the passage. She was right. I never noticed that before either.
Issy continued, although very humbly, “Jude, God is going to do what God wants to do. He will quiet what He wants to quiet and He will let roar what He wants to let roar.”
She was looking down and I lifted her face gently with my fingers and said, “Including with this November’s elections, my darling.”
She had a tear in her eye which I gently kissed away and she smiled a humble, embarrassed smile.
I asked, “What’s the matter?”
And then without missing a cue she said, “I was looking for a promise my candidate was going to beat yours badly.”
We both smiled and then continued. She took a deep breath and said, “Jesus put these poor disciples through a ton of grief before they finally emerged as the bold leaders they became.”
“And He was only with them for three years,” I said, and realized her comment was one of those I simply needed to listen to and let her keep talking, which she did.
Ignoring me, she continued, “God is in control, and that is all I need to know, about challenges, fears, promises, my employment, etc.”
“Good word, Issy,” I kissed her gently and got up to get ready for church.
January 8th, Sunday Morning, Atlanta GA
“Clyde, get your tail moving, you were supposed to be online with me ninety-seconds ago. I’ve got a congregation to pacify and I want to know where we are in Operation Judas.”
I like that name, Operation Judas, and I specifically chose it because his name represents, “traitor,” and is made clear in John 6:70-71 where Jesus acknowledges He has a traitor among his disciples.
“The irony is so juicy,” I thought to myself while I was still waiting on this nincompoop.
I intend to be the natural choice for the new Religion Consultant, when the current one is discredited, of course, after the presidential winner is identified.
We Christians finally have the ability to influence politics in a profound way, if the right “influencers” are in place. And I plan to be that influencer.
All this went thru my head as I got ready to yell at my slow-moving Lieutenant.
Finally, he said, “Pastor Mortenson, I have been testing the waters of both party’s servers.”
He put on a look of deviousness, childishness, something, I don’t know, but then he said, “I now have access to both Religion Consultants.”
“Why are you smiling like that you fool,” I said sharply, but not as sharply as I wanted to.
“Umm, I, umm,” he said, trembling a bit now.
“Good,” I thought. The only way to get anything done is to crack a whip he knows I’ll use if he is not careful.
Looking at my watch I said, “What else, man. I’ve got to preach in fifteen minutes, and you are invading my preparation time. Give me your latest update. Now that the two candidates are determined and are campaigning, it’s time we start this project in earnest.”
I had Skyped Clyde in, which is our standard procedure when he is out of town. But even then, we have strict rules about how we talk, what we say, and what we do not say.
He said, “As you know Pastor, both parties chose their candidates differently this year than in the past, so they’d have a longer campaign period. . .”
He hesitated and I immediately bit his head off with, “Don’t be a fool. I know all that.”
He sat there with his mouth agape and I said, “Speak!”
“Sorry, boss,” he stammered, which I liked, and he continued. “I have inserted two cyber hacks. I don’t want to overdo it and be noticed by their electronic watchdogs. My latest hack allows me to insert myself between the communication of each Religion Consultant and their servers.
From here I can reach out to contacts already on the server. I’ve reached out to a few already and they are getting interested in my emails. They are paying attention to them, which tells me we’re moving in the right direction.”
He looked down dutifully, as if he should bow, which he couldn’t because he was sitting on a chair.
But I liked what I saw in him, so I said, sincerely, “That’s the first intelligent thing you’ve said, Clyde. Keep it up. I need you to give me a progress report in ten days.”
“On it,” he responded, all smiles.
“Men, they are so easy to manipulate.”
I turned off Skype, picked up my Bible and headed out of the corridor to my bodyguard who would lead me to the stage where I would preach today.
“Apostle, Pastor Mortenson,” my bodyguard mumbled.
“What is it you moron?”
“Your dress is turned up in the front.”
I looked down and fixed it. After a moment I said, “I’m sorry about the ‘moron’ thing, Anthony.”
“Yes, ma’am, no problem,” he responded, all smiles.
I like having a verbal whip.
[i] John 6:17b
[ii] Mark 6:47a
[iii] Mark 6:48
[iv] John 6:19a
[v] Mark 6:48e
[vi] Matthew 14:26
[vii] Matthew 14:27
[viii] Mark 6:51
[ix] Matthew 14:33
[x] Mark 6:51e, 52