Matthew 14: 22-33

Illustrated New Resources

  • Get Out of the Boat: Finding Faith in Fearful Times

    by Rian Adams
    Two friends made a promise in 1992: If one of them won the Powerball jackpot, they’d split the winnings. Nearly 30 years later, one of the men did win! Here’s the miracle, he made good on his word and his handshake! Last month Thomas Cook bought a Powerball ticket and ended up hitting the jackpot for 22 million dollars. Cook called his friend Joe Feeney and told him the news, Joe thought Tom was kidding! He wasn’t… Despite the odds, which were 1 in 292,201,338.725, it happened. Now, let me ask… what are the odds he would actually give away half? …oh ye of little faith.
  • Take a Leap of Faith and Get Out of the Boat

    by Craig Condon
    Three local ministers decided to go fishing one day. They got into a boat, went a short distance out on the lake, and started fishing. After a few hours, one minister ran out of bait. Since they were close to the shore, he stepped over the side of the boat and walked across the water to the bait shop. He bought some more bait, walked back to the boat and got back into the boat. A little while later, the second minister ran out of bait. He stepped over the side of the boat and walked to the bait shop. He bought some more bait, walked back to the boat and got back in. A few minutes later, the third minister, who was new to the area, also ran out of bait. He stepped over the side of the boat, and almost drowned!!!!! The other two ministers pulled him back into the boat. One of them said to the other, “I KNEW we should have shown him where the stepping stones were!!!!!!”
  • Proper 14A (2020)

    by Ben Cremer
    I remember going crabbing in Washington one time with my uncle, my dad, and brother. We had these great big crab pots that weighed about 60 pounds apiece. We had about 6 pots altogether but only two of the 60 pounders. We would bait them, tie buoys to them, then go out in our boat and drop them off. It was really important to have the buoys tied to them, otherwise you’d lose the crab pot to the bottom of the sea. Well, all four of us are in the boat and we are throwing out our baited crab pots. We hurled one after another over the side and let the rope run through our hands as it sank to the bottom, then plop the buoy out on the water. We grabbed one of our 60 pounders, threw it over the side, but realized that there was no rope running through our hands. We forgot to tie it to a buoy! There it was, sinking to the bottom with no way of pulling it back up. Well, my dad being the courageous guy he is, dove into the water before any of us could say a thing. Now, I was only about 8 years old at the time. I couldn’t believe what just happened. My dad had just jumped into the ocean! All of us in the boat just sat there staring at the water. All we saw was his hat floating gently on the surface. Then all of a sudden, my dad surfaced, splashing for a paddle with the crab pot in hand. It was pretty cool. I already thought my dad was tough, but after that, my dad was the toughest guy on earth to me. For my little 8 year old heart, the time between my dad diving in and coming back to the surface felt like an eternity. I didn’t know what to think! What just happened? Would he be able to make it? What could I do? Should I jump in after him? What would I do if he didn’t come back? All these thoughts made it feel like time stood still. I think the disciples felt the same way when they were caught in that storm by themselves...
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 14A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    As Barbara Brown Taylor said in a sermon, if there is a miracle worth savoring in this story, then it’s maybe not that Jesus could walk on water (after all, if Jesus is God, then his ability to walk on water is no more surprising than your or my ability to walk up a flight of steps.) And the miracle is not that Peter managed that same trick for a moment or two. No, the miracle is that when it was all said and done–while a soggy and chagrined Peter sputtered seawater out of his lungs and as the boat continued to bob around in the dead of that rather dark night–somehow in the midst of those humble surroundings way out there in the middle of nowhere, the disciples realized that no one less than God’s own Son was sitting right in front of them. So they worshiped him. They believed. If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. True enough. And here and there, now and again, the church maybe needs visionary and courageous folks who step out on faith to do some new and bold thing...
  • Mountain Tops and Valleys

    by James Pitts
    The phone rang a 5:30 in the morning. Awakening I answered, the caller identified herself as the Coroner and asked if I was the father of my son, Stewart. She had some heart-breaking news; he had died in a fire at midnight. Shocked and numb as the conversation concluded, I reminded myself of my pastoral commitment later that morning. The evening before, I had conducted a funeral in the chapel of a funeral home. The family had requested we have a graveside committal service the following morning. Being retired and not part of a ministerial staff, I realized that I had no back up, but needed to show up and follow through with my morning responsibility. That crisis reminded me of Jesus’ need to grieve and pray, but also to embrace his calling and commitment to move through the valley and to the mountain top, from sadness and sorrow to a disciplined discipleship of faith, hope and love...
  • The Prayer of Helplessness

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    In her autobiography, The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day shares how she once prayed at a very low time in her life. Dorothy Day, as you know, wasn’t raised into the faith, but came to it on her own after a certain romance with atheism. An intellectual, moving in Marxist and anti-church circles, she entered her twenties convinced that if anyone had the courage to look life square in the eye, she or he would not believe in God. She had support in that. The love of her life at the time was one who shared her views. She moved in with him and bore his child outside of marriage. The birth of this child, a daughter, changed her in ways she had not foreseen. Holding her infant daughter, she was so overcome with awe and gratitude that she prayed spontaneously. “For so much joy, I need to thank someone!” Her faith was born from that, from the purest spring of all, gratitude...
  • Liminal Space

    by Jacqie Wallen
    The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word for “threshold” and liminal space refers to an in-between or transitional condition in which one is “neither here nor there,” or, sometimes, both here and there. Peter has left the boat but hasn’t arrived anywhere yet. He is in transition. He is in a liminal space. Richard Rohr has described liminal space as follows: It is when you have left, or are about to leave, the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

[Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. Hopefully, members will have the ability to rate all of the resources on a 5-point system soon!! FWIW!!]
  • Walking on Water

    Source Unknown
    ("A rabbi, a priest and an evangelist were in a rowboat on the Sea of Galilee, enjoying the scenery. Suddenly the rabbi stood and said, 'I'm hungry, I think I'll go get us something to eat.' He then stepped over the side of the boat and walked to shore!...")
  • Illustrations on Faith

    from the Archives
  • Walking on Water

    by David Bruce, from Hollywood Jesus
  • A Superfluous Miracle?

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis!!)
  • Peter Tries To Swim

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("One doctor in a major urban hospital was brokenhearted, frustrated and angry because he could do nothing to save or even alleviate the pain of a beautiful, four year old boy dying of a brain tumor. When the chaplain entered the room, the doctor lashed out at him and demanded, 'How can your God allow this?..." and other illustrations)
  • A Walk on the Wild Side

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("John Gardner wrote a short story in which he told of a young, novice monk who, after years of study in the monastery, informed the abbot that he was now ready to become a full-fledged monk. The abbot was doubtful, but nevertheless suggested that the young monk venture out of the monastery and into the world to test his spiritual gifts.." and other illustrations)
  • God Knows Where I Am!

    by Sil Galvan
    It had always been Ken Gaub's goal to help those who were hurting. So he became a traveling missionary and with his family, conducted crusades not only throughout America but in many foreign countries...
  • Proper 14A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 14:22-33)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 19A)

    by Various Authors
    ("The storm was brutal ... howling winds ... huge waves tossing their boat all over the place. And then, they thought they saw a ghost. And Jesus said, 'Take courage! It's me! Don't be afraid.' Of this Augustine wrote: Jesus came treading the waves; and so, he puts all the swelling tumults of life under his feet. Christians, why be afraid? When Christ is there, any storm becomes a calm, the tumult becomes peace, what cannot be done, is done, the unbearable becomes bearable, and people pass the breaking point and do not break." and several more)
  • More Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 19A)

    by Various Authors
    ("In a Peanuts cartoon strip, Charlie Brown goes to Lucy for a nickels worth of psychiatric help. She proceeds to pinpoint his particular 'fear'. Perhaps, she says, you have hypengyophobia, which is the fear of responsibility. Charlie Brown says no...")
  • Jesus Walked on Ice

    from World Net Daily
    ("A Florida State University researcher believes he has a natural explanation for the biblical account of Jesus' miraculous walk on the surface of the Sea of Galilee – ice..." )

Narrative Sermons

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

  • How Could Father Leave the Priesthood?

    by Jim Chern
    One great spiritual director, the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel, once shared an insight he gained from his experience in counseling many priests. He said that whenever a priest would tell him that he is leaving the priesthood, the first question he always asks is "When did you stop praying? When did you lose sight of Christ?" I know that when I was on the receiving end of that question about 11 years ago when I was at a crossroads and was close to leaving the priesthood, I was angered by the question...
  • Sinking with Peter

    by Delmer Chilton
    In his book One Crowded Hour, Tim Bowden writes about a small war in Borneo in 1964. The nations of Indonesia and Malaysia got into a shouting match that turned into a shooting match. Because of treaty relations, a group of Gurkhas from Nepal were sent to aid the Malaysians. Not long after they arrived, they were asked if they would be willing to jump into combat in a surprise attack. Because they were not trained as paratroopers they had the right to refuse. The Gurkhas usually agreed to do anything they were asked, but this time they said no. The next day, one of their leaders came to the high command and reported that they had met and reconsidered and would make the jump but only under certain conditions.
  • Getting Out of the Boat

    by Janet Hunt
    Several months ago I began serving on the board of Hope Haven, our local homeless shelter. For decades this organization has provided emergency housing for the homeless. In more recent years we have come to the understanding that many who are homeless also suffer from mental illness and so need specialized kind of help. In fact, one of our units is long term housing for people who simply would not be able to function in the world without this support. Of late, the director has been putting more and more energy into addressing the root causes of homelessness — particularly with the children — trying to break the cycle for this next generation. Sadly, it is not surprising that many of these young people have been the victims of one kind of trauma or another, too often sexual abuse.
  • Discipleship Has One Door: Surrender to God

    by Terrance Klein
    Here is a story of storm and faith. On Dec. 4, 1875, the transatlantic steamer the Deutschland departed from Bremerhaven, Germany. It was on its way to New York. The ship had a crew of a hundred men, and it carried 113 passengers, mostly German immigrants bound for America. Among them were five Franciscan nuns, who had been exiled from Germany in the Kulturkampf, the struggle over religious liberty between the Catholic Church and Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s Iron Chancellor. In the face of sorrow and suffering, the sisters were resolutely leaving their homeland behind, bound for hospital work in St. Louis. They were still very much in control of their lives. They were meeting struggle with spunk. Between midnight and the morning of Dec. 7, a winter storm off the coast of England sank the steamer. Some passengers and crew escaped. The five Franciscans were drowned.
  • A Hand in the Storm

    by Jim McCrea
    John Claypool tells of a missionary who went out years ago to teach in a school in China. She had begun the whole venture with a deep sense of God’s calling. However, in the long voyage over the Pacific by boat, all kinds of fears began to crop up. Just like Peter, who had begun to walk on the water in confidence, but then took his eyes off Christ and let the winds drive him to terror, she too was filled with anxieties: “How will I provide for myself? Will I be able to learn the language? What will the response of the people be?” One night she went to sleep deeply troubled by all these uncertainties, and she had a vivid dream. It was as if she were standing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean all by herself with nothing but a two-by-four supporting her on the surface of the water. In that condition, a voice said to her. “Start walking to China.” She answered back, “But I can’t. I’m not able to walk on water. If I leave this secure standing place, I’ll drown.” But the voice insisted, “I said, ‘Walk.’ Start walking to China.”... and other quotes
  • Walking on Water and Sinking Like a Stone

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    Donald Nichol, in his book, Holiness, shares a story of a British missionary working in Africa. At one point, early on in his stay there, the missionary was called upon to mediate a dispute between two tribes. He had no preparation for this, was naïve, and totally out of his depth. But he gave himself over to the task in faith and, surprisingly, reconciled the two tribes. Afterwards, buoyed by this success, he began to fancy himself as mediator and began to present himself as an arbiter of disputes. But now, however, his efforts were invariably unhelpful. Here’s the irony: when he didn’t know what he was doing, but trusted solely in God, he was able to walk on water; as soon as he began to wrap himself in the process, he sank like a stone. Faith works like that: We can walk on water only as long as we don’t think that we are doing it with our own strength.
  • Is It You, Lord?

    by Carl Wilton
    When I was away on vacation last week, I went to see the movie, Dunkirk. It’s got all kinds of famous actors in it, one of whom is the Shakespearean actor, Kenneth Branagh. In this role he plays a British naval officer, Commander Bolton, who’s supervising the evacuation of the defeated army from the beach. It’s a massive and desperate task. There are hundreds of thousands of British and French soldiers on that strip of sand — and there aren’t just enough rescue ships. Several of those precious ships, packed with evacuees, are hit by bombs or torpedoes and go down in minutes. The German army is frighteningly near...
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Faith

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2011 to 2016

  • In the Storms of Living

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("Sometimes ancient methods and ways of understanding something also speak across the centuries. There's a very old way of understanding today's gospel story that does just that. In this method the boat represents the church, and the winds and the waves stand for the persecutions that the early Christian community faced. The time being described is years after Jesus' earthly ministry, so he is not with them physically...This symbolic understanding lets the story immediately connect with Christians in danger or under threat....")
  • Sinking Times, Praying TImes

    by Tom Cox
    ("How many of us 'step out of the boat' of our imagined strengths and talents and attempt to 'walk on water'? Maybe we do so far more often than we at first imagine. A bride and groom are accepting the Lord's invitation, as did Peter, to walk on water. Peter stepped out of a boat. A bride and groom take a few steps down the aisle walking on the water of a future totally unknown to them. You don't have to be married to appreciate that...")
  • Why Can't You Just Have More Faith?

    by Rachel Evans
    ("When people ask, Why can't you just have more faith? I say, Because I've seen the rabbit. Now, before visions of Donnie Darko begin running through your head, let me explain. You've probably seen the famous optical illusion of the duck and rabbit. Well, let's say that the duck represents a faith-view of the world and the rabbit represents a chance-view...")
  • In the Middle of Troubled Waters

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Shrek and Donkey set out on a quest to rescue a fair maiden imprisoned in the tower of a castle that is guarded by a fire breathing dragon. Between them and the castle there is a great chasm with red hot lava at the bottom. The only way to get across is via a very flimsy swinging bridge. Donkey is definitely not going to walk across the bridge but Shrek says that he can do it as long as he doesn't look down. Donkey steps on to the bridge reminding himself not to look down, and feeling very bold and safe...")
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 14A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("There is an old story that has often been re-told in especially the Eastern Orthodox part of the church. According to the tale, a devout abbot from a monastery decided to take a prolonged spiritual retreat in a small cabin located on a remote island in the middle of a large lake. He told his fellow monks that he wanted to spend his days in prayer so as to grow closer to God...")
  • Walking on Water

    by Janet Hunt
    ("Even as we attempted to drive out of the way of Hurricane Bob, however, it was evident that others were traveling in the opposite direction. The next morning's paper showed some of those daredevils who ignored all the warnings and were photographed standing at the end of the pier at the end of the cape with their arms outstretched, seemingly daring the force of the storm to take them down...")
  • Storms No Storm Can Survive

    by Terrance Klein
    ("there are storms we don't survive. Perhaps that's a truth only the old can tell. Consider this small vignette, about growing up in the Third Reich. It's from the German historian Joachim Fest, Not I: Memoirs of a German Childrhood. His family never supported the Nazi's and actively resisted Adolf Hitler. The war left Fest's family homeless and impoverished, grieving their dead...")
  • Breaking Through

    by Jim McCrea
    ("John Claypool tells of a missionary who went out years ago to teach in a school in China. She had begun the whole venture with a deep sense of God's calling. However, in the long voyage over the Pacific by boat, all kinds of fears began to crop up....")
  • Take a Walk on the Water

    by Rick Miles
    A pastor I once knew was conducting a large wedding rehearsal and was showing the bride just how she would enter and take her majestic walk down the aisle. The bride, already shaking from the magnitude of the event to come, said, “I can’t do it. I’ll never make it. It won’t work.” The pastor took the young woman by the arm and said, “My dear, do you see that huge window of Christ at the front of the chancel? Tomorrow, when you come down this center aisle, Jesus will be there just for you. Keep your eyes on him, and you’ll get there.” That is the message for you and me: to keep our eyes on Jesus...
  • Proper 14A (2011)

    by Robert Morrison
    (includes several quotes)
  • On, By, Near or Upon

    by Larry Patten
    ("A few years ago I applied for a position that felt perfect for me: a part-time chaplain at a local hospice. I worked in a hospice before. I'm ordained. I had excellent recommendations. When called for the interview, I confidently swung my leg over the side of the boat and stepped onto Lake Interview. My rock sank. Didn't get the job. Why? Arrogance...")
  • A Preposition for You

    by Larry Patten
    ("I recall a seminary professor who offhandedly wondered about the preposition in the sentence, 'Jesus walked on water.' A preposition like 'on' is a 'function word that typically combines with a noun phrase' to express a 'modification'. Ah, a modifier! That which changes!...")
  • Blessing on the Waves

    Poem by Jan Richardson
  • Our Faith Inside the Boat

    by Amy Richter
    ("The boat has, from very early days in the Christian community, been a symbol for the church. And no wonder. Think of a ship, a vessel large enough that it takes a number of people doing diverse things to get it to move.Moving through the waters on a gorgeous day can be simply glorious. Sometimes, though, life on the ship can get routine. The same chores need doing every day. The wind doesn't always do what the sailors want...")
  • Storm at Sea

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ["In Israel and Palestine fear runs deep in the bone. For Israel, a people driven off their land by the Roman Empire in 69 AD, people who lived in exile in Europe for the next 1900 years, learning to farm in forest towns (shetls, as in Fiddler on the Roof) in eastern Europe (what is now the Ukraine) or learning the skills of bankers and traders in western European cities where they lived in ghettoes, the experience of forced emigration was horrific..."]
  • Faith Through Mysticism

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("Anita Brookner states in one of her novels that the great tragedy in most marriages is that the man and woman cannot, in the end, console each other and that what each really needs from the other, but generally never gets, is a good confessor, someone to whom each can reveal all the secrets of his or her life so as to let go of the tension and finally just be himself or herself without pretense and effort...")
  • Walking on Water

    by Michael Rusk
    ("The virtuoso pianist and composer, Franz Lizst, for the most part was not religious. But towards the end of his life, that changed. Lizst was particularly drawn to the story of St Francis of Paolo--a story which in turn was inspired by Jesus walking on the water. St Francis had hoped to get a boat across the Straits of Messina from the coast of Italy to Sicily. But he had no money, and the boatman refused to grant him any favours...")
  • Faith Within the Chaos

    by Matthew Skinner
    ("The final scene in The Truman Show illustrates this impulse nicely, when Truman leaves his boat and walks across the ledge at the horizon of the fake sea. Each step brings him closer to breaking out of an artificial, imposed existence. But here's a key difference:...")
  • Save Me, Lord

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace was without peer in the 19th century except for one name: Charles Darwin. One of Wallace's most astute observations about nature has gotten totally forgotten in the whole debate over the 'survival of the fittest'. Wallace made a surprising discovery about the saving nature of struggle...")
  • Facing the Storms of Life

    by Alex Thomas
    "John Powell tells about a student named Tommy who was a student in a course he tught on The Theology of Faith. Tommy was the 'atheist in residence'. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. At the end of the course Tommy asked, 'Do you think I'll ever find God?' Powell answer, 'No!' but added as Tommy left the room, 'I'm absolutely certain that God will find you'..."
  • Walking on the Water

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Bruce Larson tells a story about the time he almost drowned in a storm in the Gulf of Mexico. He was swimming far from shore, trying to retrieve his boat that was drifting away from him. The waves were seven to eight feet high and the sky was dark with gale force winds and lightening. Larson remembers saying to himself, 'Well, this is it'. He was drifting out to sea when the word of the Lord came to him and saved his life. What he heard was, 'I'm here, Bruce and you're not coming home at this time'...")

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2010

  • Remember the Storm

    by John Bedingfield
    ("I have a stash of music stored on my computer and started playing Allison Krause and Union Station... I heard Allison Krause's beautiful rendition of Keith Whitley's song, When You Say Nothing At All. Then thankfully, I couldn't help but get a mental picture of Simon Peter and his relationship with Jesus from this morning's Gospel reading. 'There's a truth in your eyes Sayin' you'll never leave me The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall.'...")
  • The Sound of Silence

    by Neil Bishop
    ("This story is evoked in the film The Truman Show, where the hero Truman - played by Jim Carrey - is an actor in a film within a film. At one point he tries to ride out a storm in a yacht...")
  • To It and Thru It

    Beth Dewey
    By Beth Dewey. Family's survival through a hurricane shows God's caring hand.
  • Proper 14A (2008)

    by Ann Fontaine
    ("The blog OCICBW reflects on this passage as telling us about our life after Christ's death, resurrection and ascension. In our reading today Jesus sends his disciples away because he needs to be away from them and they need to be away from him...")
  • Don't Be Afraid

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Last Sunday night on 60 Minutes the amazing story of Nick was told. He came into this world without arms or legs. He told of the shock and grief of his parents when he was born. It’s clear no one knew how to react to a baby born without any limbs....")
  • Ordinary 19A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was this doctor who was magical. He was witty, intelligent, sensitive, and a brilliant, brilliant diagnostician...")
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 14A)(2008)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("There is an old story that has often been re-told in especially the Eastern Orthodox part of the church. According to the tale, a devout abbot from a monastery decided to take a prolonged spiritual retreat in a small cabin located on a remote island in the middle of a large lake...")
  • Encountering Christ

    by Jan Love
    ("One of the controversies at the Nairobi Assembly focused on a sculpture made by Guido Rocha, a Brazilian artist. This figure is a large, life-size crucifix. Unlike most portrayals of Jesus hanging on the cross, however, this one is quite shocking. Its title is The Tortured Christ....)
  • That Wile E. Coyote Moment

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Some years ago, I was watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Among the guests that night was comedian Buddy Hackett. What I remember about that show was that, at one point in the conversation, Hackett turned to Carson and said, 'Ask me what the secret of comedy is.'...")
  • Ordinary 19A (2008)

    by Robert Morrison
    ("In a final letter from the Lambeth Conference, a young man, a seminarian from the Diocese of Rio de Janero who served as a steward to the bishops, wrote about his experience at one of the Sunday worship services...")
  • Just One Small Step of Faith

    by John Pavelko
    ("Learning to step beyond our comfort zones is an important part of the life of discipleship. Comfort zones may feel safe but they are very limiting. The story of Peter's one small step offers us some valuable insight on how we should face such circumstances...")
  • Night Passage

    by Jan Richardson
    ("In her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard writes of reading Marius von Senden's book Space and Sight. She conveys von Senden's descriptions of what happened when eye surgeons began to perform the first successful operations to remove cataracts...")
  • The True Feng Shui Life

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("The blue of our seas, and the so-blue of our skies, is a direct result of the miracle of life. A recent Discovery Channel program on continental development showed how nasty-looking our waters used to be...")
  • Fishermen Rush In

    by Daniel Deffinbaugh
    "St. Augustine, for example, goes a little overboard (if you'll pardon the pun) with his nautical allusions, using his sermon on this passage as an occasion for both ecclesial endorsement and pastoral care..."

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Storms Come and Go, but God Doesn't

    by Bill Adams
    ("Have you heard the story of Horville Sash? Horville had very humble job in the basement of the largest corporation in the world. He worked there as a gofer who did a lot to help other people become successful in their jobs...")
  • Faith, Fear and Falling

    by Robert Allred
    ("Some months ago I struck up a conversation with a stranger in a hospital emergency room waiting area. This outgoing middle aged man began to share how his life was saved by a prison chaplain who reached out to him...")
  • Jesus Reached Out His Hand to Me

    by Robert Allred
    ("Like the one about the recent seminary graduate young pastor who was invited out to fish with two of the codgers in their boat. After rowing into the middle of the lake they realized that they had left the bait on the dock...")
  • Sinking Times Are Praying Times

    from Biblical Studies
    ("Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition that Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not the length but strength is desirable. Our most desperate times are the Lord’s opportunities...")
  • Riding the Storm

    by Peter Blackburn
    ("Still my heart, Lord! Still my heart! When all is calm, predictable, ordered…I can cope. Within the limits of my own ability I am fulfilled But with the breaking of the storm, when I am taken beyond my skills, my plans, when faced by failure...")
  • The Storm at Sea

    by Gary Botha
    ("Some years ago, a brother in Mother Teresa's order came to her complaining about a superior whose rules, he felt, were interfering with his ministry. "My vocation is to work for lepers," he told Mother Teresa...")
  • Proper 14A (2005)

    by Luke Bouman
    ("The captain of the ship had ordered the shutters closed on the ship that sailed out of Folkestone Harbor toward Ostende, Holland. The sea, in late November could be gentle as a lamb, as it had been when my companions and I crossed over from the European continent to England two weeks earlier...")
  • Confessing the Cross

    by Stephen Bouman
    ("There is in New York City and maybe in a place near you people who gather at stop lights with squeegees or towels to wash your window hoping for some spare change. As I came up to a stoplight near Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx a few years ago and noticed one of the so-called "squeegee patrol" waiting for me...")
  • Ordinary 19A (2002)

    by Richard Budgen
    ("In October 1991 the fishing boat Andrea Gail set out to fish for swordfish in the waters of Flemish Cap off Nova Scotia. The captain of the boat, Billy Tyne, and his crew had had a terrible fishing season. This was their last chance to make a good catch before going home to their families in Gloucester, Massachusetts...")
  • Walking on Water

    by Barbara Bundick
    ("On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea...")
  • A Little Faith and a Lot of Fear and Doubt

    by George Butterfield
    ("Have you ever had one of those days where you felt that nothing went right and that everything was out to get you? I have a friend who recently was preparing for her son's wedding. They were trying to keep the cost manageable and had set up a rehearsal dinner and reception that they did themselves...")
  • Faith, Fear and Hope

    by Allison Cline
    ("Do we take the time to be alone with our God, to let God come to us in the midst of life's storms, to let God calm the storm in our life, to let God's healing graces into our lives? Let me tell you about one such wrestling match. On Saturday, I was paged early in the morning to the hospital for a family. As soon as I heard the room number I knew that the patient must have deteriorated overnight in order to be moved to a private room...")
  • Stepping Out - Taking The Risk

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("A helicopter pilot who flew from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific told this story. 'I was flying the helicopter back to the ship when a blinding fog rolled in. Flying at a low altitude, I knew that a single mistake would plunge me and my crew into the ocean...")
  • Walking on the Water

    by Arthur Ferry, Jr.
    ("I remember back a few years ago, about 9, I think. A friend of mine told me of the misfortune that happened down in TN. They had several banks fail...")
  • Miracle Whip on the Sea

    by Justin K. Fisher
    ("Did you hear the story of the two duck hunters with their retrievers? The hunters with their dogs go out to the marsh to bag some ducks. A flock of ducks flies over head and the first hunter shoots down a duck and the second hunter shoots down a duck. The first hunter’s dog jumps into the water, swims over to the duck and swims back...")
  • Get Out of the Boat

    by Charles Fulton, Jr.
    ("I'm thinking of the great Dr. Salk. You remember that he discovered the vaccine for infantile paralysis. The vaccine that would prevent it. As a child in Florida I remember very well what infantile paralysis could mean to the child...")
  • Proper 14A (2002)

    by Grant Gallup
    ("So it is that this midrash comes to us from Oscar Wilde, poet and martyr: 'Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach thy hand, For I am drowning in a stormier sea Than Simon on thy lake of Galilee ...")
  • Take Courage. Don't Be Afraid

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("In the movie Shrek, the ogre, Shrek and the donkey set out on a quest to rescue a fair maiden imprisoned in the tower of a castle that is guarded by a fire breathing dragon. Between them and the castle there is a great chasm with red hot lava at the bottom...")
  • Yeah, But...

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Have you ever had a yeah, but moment? I’m sure you have. Let me explain. Recently I had the Jehovah's Witnesses visit the manse and in the course of our conversation I was asked, 'You believe in one true God, don’t you?' Knowing that the questioner did not believe in the three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, this was a yeah, but… moment...")
  • Sink or Swim?

    by Patricia Gillespie
    ("Probably many of you have heard the story of the woman who came as the new Episcopal priest to a small Minnesota town where they'd never had a woman clergy person. She worked hard at trying to gain the approval of the other local clergy...")
  • Ordinary 19A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("One time a very important Cardinal and his aged auxiliary bishop were visiting a town in the West of Ireland. They left their cards at the house of the local bishop out of respect...")
  • Ordinary 19 (2002)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a group of young hikers were wandering through dense woods. They were singing and having a grand time. As the sun began to go down, some of them got worried. How are we going to get out of here, they wondered...")
  • Ordinary 19A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a high school physics teacher who gave very tough tests. But he was also a good teacher and liked his students and wanted them to learn. So he emphasized the really important parts of the course and prepared the students for the exam...")
  • Rockin' the Boat

    by Peter Haynes
    ("I remember the first time I ever got into a kayak. Now, at this point in my life I was familiar with canoes. Our family had one of those and I was pretty good at maneuvering it on a river. A kayak, however, is a bit different. Whereas a canoe has a keel running down the middle, which helps it not tip over too easily, a kayak has a smooth, more rounded bottom..." and discussion of abuse)
  • The Shadow Side

    by Cynthia Jarvis
    ("Other fears are external. They hold us hostage, silence us and dismantle our humanity. "The first time he hit me I was 19," says Anna Quindlen’s main character in Black and Blue. "I can hear his voice now, so persuasive, so low and yet somehow so strong...")
  • If You Want To Walk On Water, You Gotta Get Out Of the Boat!

    by John Jewell
    A young executive in a congregation I served years ago experienced this in the midst of a dangerous battle with meningitis. His physician, in fact, told me to stay in close touch with the family because he did not expect the man to recover. But he did recover -- literally came back from the threshold of death. And he had a story to tell...
  • Afraid of the Unknown? Reach Out to the All-Knowing!

    by Linda Kraft
    ("Rabbi Feldman had been having trouble with his congregation. It seemed they could agree upon nothing, and controversy filled the air until the Sabbath itself became an area of conflict, and unhappiness filled the synagogue...")
  • Reach Out and Touch Someone

    by Linda Kraft
    Several years ago, a Unitarian minister named Robert Fulghum published a book called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In one chapter, Fulghum talks about someone who reached out and touched his life in unexpected ways – his barber! Fulghum writes: 'Hair grows at the rate of about half an inch a month. I don't know where he got his facts, but Mr. Washington came up with that one when we were comparing barbers...
  • Proper 14A (2005)

    by Kirk Alan Kubicek
    ("when the Lord gets ready, in the words of the venerable spiritual you gotta move: You may be rich, You may be poor, You may be young, You may be old, But when the Lord gets ready, You gotta move...")
  • Do Not Be Afraid!

    by Tommy Lane
    ("Earlier this year, I told of one woman’s fears during pregnancy. She was writing in the Trinidad Catholic News which I read on the Internet. 'I think of pregnancy. What a time! Uncertainty, doubt, fears, apprehensions! We don’t know what’s in store for us..." and Footprints illustration)
  • Mayday!

    by David Leininger
    ("There is one that has gone around for years about three ministers out fishing together in a small boat. One of them, suddenly realizing that he had left his tackle box in the cabin, stepped out of the boat, and walked on the water over to shore. Just then, the second one said he had forgotten his faithful fishing hat on the front seat of the car...")
  • Stay In the Boat

    by David Leininger
    ("Mark Twain refers to it in one of his books. He recalls a visit to the Holy Land and a stay in Capernaum. It was a moonlit night, so he decided to take his wife on a romantic boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Twain asked a man in a rowboat how much he would charge to take them out on the water...")
  • Hindu Holy Man

    by John MacArthur
  • Walking on Water

    by Edward Markquart
    ("The word miracle, and the experience of the miraculous, is in no way confined to Biblical times or the first century. The word miracle, and the experience of the miraculous, is very much part of our modern world and our everyday lives...")
  • Walking on Water

    by David Martyn
    ("When I was not quite twenty years old I signed on as a crew aboard the ship Thomas Crosby V. That eighty-foot vessel was a floating church operated by the United Church of Canada to serve fifty-four ports of call on the coast of British Columbia...")
  • That Sinking Feeling

    by Jim McCrea
    ("John Claypool tells of a missionary who went out years ago to teach in a school in China. She had begun the whole venture with a deep sense of God's calling. However, in the long voyage over the Pacific by boat, all kinds of fears began to crop up....")
  • When the Storms Come

    by Steven Molin
    ("In November of 1940, the Mother of All Blizzards struck Minnesota with a vengeance. That autumn day started out balmy enough, but in the early afternoon, the temperature plummeted and the blizzard roared. The Twin Cities got 17 inches of snow; 27 inches in St. Cloud. Farmers were caught unprepared in their fields, and hunters were stranded in their duck blinds. In all, 49 people died in Minnesota, while 59 sailors died on Lake Superior...")
  • Ordinary 19A (2002)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("When he was 39, my friend Peter had something of a bad year. He crashed his car. He was drunk at the time, so he lost his driving licence. He needed that driving licence for his job, so he lost his job. When he lost his job, he could not keep up the mortgage payments on his house. His wife divorced him and took away their two children...")
  • The Anchor Holds

    by Ray Osborne
    ("I read a story the other day about a billionaire who pledged the hand of his Miss-America daughter and a royal dowry to that man who could survive a life-threatening ordeal. On the appointed day, all the suitors lined up on one edge of a swimming pool. In the pool swam dozens of man-eating sharks...")
  • The Steps of Faith

    by John Pavelko
    ("During the summer of 1785, a frivolous young man decided to take a Continental tour with a few good friends. He had spent the past four years serving in Parliament and enjoying the social scene of London 'where unchecked passions and desires ran their course'...")
  • When Storms Gather

    by Michael Phillips
    ("William Willimon's writings this week in his publication Pulpit Resource made some better sense of Peter's excursion into the waves then most folk seem to do. Jesus shows up in the middle of the night. The waves are crashing over the boat, the winds are howling, the sea and the storm conspiring to crush the dream and the dreamer...")
  • What Did You Expect?

    by Beth Quick
    ("In one of American culture's movie classics Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we find a scenario the reminds me somewhat of our gospel lesson today. Do you remember the film? Indiana Jones is trying to find and save his father, who has been seeking after the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper...")
  • Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

    by Ron Saunders
    ("A ship was riding out an ocean storm. Fierce winds beat against the sails, threatening to rip them from the spars. A young sailor was ordered to climb the main mast, furl the sails, and tie them down. The lad had never climbed the main mast in such fierce weather...")
  • And Then Jesus Came

    by Robert Sims
    ("The young mother examined the toy rather dubiously. Finally, she turned to the salesman and said, 'Sir, don't you think this toy is a bit complicated for a little child?' The clerk answered: 'Madam, this is an educational toy. It is designed to help the child adjust to living in today's world...")
  • Brave Hearts

    by Mike Slaughter
    ("She wasn't a very impressive looking woman - a little over five feet tall, late thirties, weathered skin beyond her years. Her clothes were old, inexpensive, and worn. She couldn't read or write and when she smiled you couldn't help but notice that her teeth were missing...")
  • Fully Human

    by Mike Slaughter
    ("School was a negative experience for me. I spent a lot of time writing things on the board. That was humiliating. It was during recess and it had something to do with getting something in Marsha Haggerty’s hair. I had to come in and in front of the whole class write Tar is not a toy...")
  • Walk on Water

    by Mike Slaughter
    ("When I was growing up there was a creek in the woods behind our house. Any time we'd go out my mom would tell us to stay out of the creek. There was a rope and we could swing across the creek on this rope. That was one of the best things we knew how to do...")
  • Great God

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("a duck hunter who bought a new retriever. Besides being a beautiful dog, it was guaranteed to be the best retriever anyone had ever seen. He couldn't wait to show off his new dog to his buddies...")
  • Step On Out

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("On the night in question, I was on liberty. Two of the guys and I from engineering were in the galley (or kitchen for you landlubbers) fixing a snack. Some of the guys were watching TV, there was a poker game going on in the rec room. Some of the guys were shooting pool. Some of the guys had already gone to bed. It was about 10:15 at night...")
  • God's Amazing Grace in the Midst of Trouble

    by Alex Thomas
    "I have often heard the prayer: 'So far today God, I've done alright. I haven't gossiped. I haven't lost my temper. I haven't been grumpy, nasty or selfish. I am really glad of that. But God, in a few minutes I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on, I am going to need a lot of help'..." and other illustrations
  • Storms Will Come

    by David Tietz
    ("a man gets too close to the edge of the Grand Canyon, loses his balance, and slips over the edge. Just before falling 1000 feet, he grabs on to a root sticking out from the edge. 'Help me!' He hollers. 'Is there anyone up there? Help me! Save me! Is there anyone up there?'...")
  • Who's At the Helm?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In the Navy I spent many weeks and months at sea. I am trained in bridge operations and I know that a sailor is always assigned to the helm. The helmsman’s job is to remain completely focused on his course. He does not change that course unless instructed by the Officer in charge of the bridge...")
  • Ye of Little Faith

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Bruce Larson tells a story about the time he almost drowned in a storm in the Gulf of Mexico. He was swimming far from shore, trying to retrieve his boat that was drifting away from him. The waves were seven to eight feet high and the sky was dark with gale force winds and lightening...")
  • Faithful Sailing

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("The famous novelist, James Michener, has this interesting insight in his book Chesapeake: 'A ship, like a human being, moves best when it is slightly athwart the wind, when it has to keep its sails tight and attend to its course....")
  • Don't Be Afraid

    by Todd Weir
    ["Most of the residents at Hillcrest House, where I work, are recovering from drug addictions. When they are fearful about the future, they often do irrational and self-destructive things (like any of the rest of us.) Fear launches a blame game..."]
  • How You Will Know If It's Jesus?

    by William Willimon
    ("The day after the horror of September 11, I saw this couple being interviewed on the news. They were standing on the street, before the wreckage of ground zero, obviously in great grief. Their beloved daughter had perished in the cataclysm. Through tears, they shared their grief with the reporter..." and other illustrations)
  • The All Too Human Peter

    by Tim Zingale
    ("There is a story about an old merchant ship that was caught In a dangerous storm on the high seas. The winds were wailing and the waves were pounding the little vessel. All of a sudden the captain ordered a young sailor to climb the main mast set free the mast which became tangled..." and other illustrations)
  • Proper 14A (2005)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("There was an old Scotsman who was very, very ill. When his pastor come to see him, the suffering man told him about the empty chair by the side of his bed. The chair had held a key place in his life for many years. It began when he had trouble kneeling for prayer and a friend told him not to worry about kneeling...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

Other Resources from 2002 to 2004

Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

  • Have No Fear

    by King Duncan, from The Power of Positive Faith

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable

  • Fishermen Rush In

    by Daniel Deffinbaugh
    ("St. Augustine, for example, goes a little overboard (if you'll pardon the pun) with his nautical allusions, using his sermon on this passage as an occasion for both ecclesial endorsement and pastoral care...")
  • Much Success, Much Still to Do

    by C. Christopher Epting
  • Ordinary 19

    by Campion P. Gavaler, OSB
  • Ordinary 19

    by Campion P. Gavaler, OSB
  • Doubt and Fear

    by Beverly Gaventa
  • Tips for Discipleship: Trust in Christ

    by John and Robin McCullough-Bade
  • Trinity 12

    by John Pridmore
  • Proper 14

    by Martin Warner
  • Propio 14A (2017)

    por Gonzalo Rendon
  • Walking On Water

    by David Bruce
    (Images from Movies by David Bruce)
  • Ordinary 19A

    by Tom Mannebach
    there’s the true story of a gypsy family who survived the Holocaust of World War II. The family were members of a traveling circus that toured throughout eastern Europe. In one of the family acts, a teenage daughter would jump from a high wire with no net below, and her father would catch her. The account goes that one day her father left the apartment they were staying early, leaving the daughter alone in the apartment. Later that morning, there was a knock on the door. When she opened it, she found a stranger who said he had a message from her father. The stranger told her the message was as follows: Nazi troops were coming into town and she needed to escape. But it was far too risky for the father to enter the town or the daughter to escape in the daylight hours. Their only hope was to escape at night. So the stranger told her that at 2 in the morning she was to walk out to the northwest corner of the apartment building. And right at 2AM, she was to jump from the rooftop and her father would be below to catch her.
  • Lectionary Reflections

    by Chris Hooton
  • Domingo 19

    por Kathleen Maire
  • Don't Jump Ship!

    by D. Gene Strother
  • Trust

    by David Risendal
  • In God We Trust

    by David Risendal