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Crossing the Bar: An Echo

More on Lesson 8 of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship): John 6:1-21

The feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on the water: Eight years ago I wrote and delivered a sermon on this passage, John chapter six, verses 1 to 21. After completing Lesson 8 this week, I found myself reading and reflecting on what I had written almost a decade ago.

Here is an excerpt from that sermon:

But life can be rough. Just as the disciples began to be battered by the wind and the waves – just as they tried with all their might to get where they wanted to go but could get nowhere, so life is not always so smooth and we don’t necessarily accomplish all that we set out to do. I can name a number of instances in my own life when I wished things unfolded differently, or when I would have preferred that certain other things never happened at all. I can remember times when I cried out to God “Why did you let this happen?” or “Why are you not here when I need you to tell me it is alright?” I recall moments when hope seemed like a far distant ghost – so thin, so ethereal – so unreal…

From a sermon given at Kensington Presbytery Church on 16 August 2015

The miracle of the Good News is that it is precisely in those times when Jesus comes alongside and repeats to us those comforting words – those words that empower us, that make us alive: “It is I, don’t be afraid.

(Go to revised text of paragraph above. Go to entire text of the sermon)

Now that I have come out of retirement a second time, now that God has led me and urged me to take up this specific path of ministry, now that I have agreed to serve as part-time pastor of a church in downtown Vancouver, my own words eight years ago have come back to me in ever increasing echoes.

Lord in your strength and mercy do I go in obedience. I do want to hear you in my heart say those reassuring words to me: “It is I, don’t be afraid.”


“The beauty of the Good News lies in the fact that precisely during those moments of difficulty, challenge and uncertainty, Jesus stands beside us, echoing those reassuring words — words that empower and invigorate us: ‘It is I, don’t be afraid.'”

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