Sunday’s Gospel reading was the passage, so beautifully recounted by St. Matthew, describing St. Peter’s venture out onto the water. For some reason it really resonated with me this week, and I am quite sure it is not an exaggeration to say that I have heard this passage, this story, hundreds of times.
It struck me because that was what my conversion to Orthodoxy was–Lord, if that’s you, let me come to you on the water. I knew it was Him. There was no doubt when I talked with my friend Tmatt as we walked through the Capital Hill neighborhood in Washington D.C. the summer of 1998. I knew then, even though it would be more than five years until I would walk into the back of an Orthodox Church for the first time, awestruck by the Divine Liturgy.
I don’t know how I knew, though, while simplistic, I would guess I was hardwired to recognize the voice for which I had searched for so long. But I didn’t want to hear it for a few years, even though in the core of my soul I was convinced of the truth of it.
In the past year, and even now, as I reflect on the tumult of the breakup of my parish, I know that I had to reach a point where I was willing to hear that voice again. And, even more difficult, be willing to act on what I heard and knew to be true.
Isn’t that always the way it is? We hear, we are called, and we may even respond verbally in the beginning (Let me come to you.) But it means so much more when we swing our legs over the side of the boat and take a tenative step onto that which we had never known to carry us before.
Once you do that, you just have to remember to keep your eyes straight ahead…