St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

Pentecost 9

Paul wrote to the people at Ephesus, “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” And what shall we do with this power and love from the Holy Spirit?

I’ve never met anyone who walked on water, have you? I think about the disciples rowing across the Sea of Galilee in the evening with another storm blowing around them. They look up and see what they think is an apparition. Are they seeing a ghost approaching them? Jesus assures them, “It is I, do not be afraid.” They want him to get in the boat with them but discover they are at the shore near Capernaum.

I believe Jesus chose these men originally because they were looking for God. When they found Jesus or when he found them, they believed they had found someone who could show them how to live a life dedicated to God. I don’t think, from today’s story they were expecting someone who could multiply food and feed thousands of people and especially not someone who could walk on water. I understand feeding the hungry but what purpose does walking on water serve? Or did Jesus expect that no one would see him? Jesus had gone off by himself (though I don’t know how) when he saw the crowd might try to make him king. If a person chose to walk across a lake after dark, it is unlikely they would encounter anyone except the occasional night fishermen. It would be similar to using an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter. But, the disciples saw him and wondered what on earth they were viewing! Jesus (taking extreme measures to avoid the crowds) decided to walk across the lake. Besides Peter’s failed attempt to walk on water, the only other such event I know of is St. Mary of Egypt walking across a river.

I have spent a lifetime seeking God and I have met many saints in that time-no one like St. Mary of Egypt, a few like St. Peter, and no one who could walk on water-though what they did after dark, in secret, I do not know.

Decades ago I was asked to serve on a board addressing the homeless populations on the Eastside of Lake Washington-truly invisible people living in tents in wooded areas. I had no idea they were there but a deacon in the church brought trouble to me and I answered the call. I imagine many of those wooded areas have disappeared and now the homeless in Bellevue as well as many other areas in Western Washington are more visible and harder to ignore.

Here in Grays Harbor County, we are focused on people living rough in Aberdeen particularly those who most recently lived in the TASL and people who hang out on the city sidewalks. We also have many wooded areas and other locations where people live rough.

There are people on the South shore of the Chehalis. At least one encampment is in Central Park, people live up Bear Creek, and folks walk down the railroad tracks in Montesano to get to an encampment are just a few that I know. I have developed the senses to notice people who are living on the edge and I no longer ignore them.

I want to engage with people and discover who they are. I want to hear their voices and help others to hear them, too. That is how I want to use the power and love of the Holy Spirit.

I have been very concerned the last few weeks about the folks living in TASL-especially a man I’ve known since he was a teen hanging out with my daughter and her friends. He has some particular medical issues that do not work well with living rough. Others with physical disabilities and mental health issues are particularly vulnerable-one of the security staff was shaking his head over the decision to send these folks out of the camp with no other housing options. Thankfully, a couple people were able to get housing through CCAP including one person’s family member who is also a vulnerable individual. I hope this proves to be a permanent solution for them all. Please use your Holy Spirit power and love to pray for the people who have been living in the TASL camp as they try to heal and adjust and as they speak to power to receive what they need.

So, this past week, I have sought out and found God in the TASL camp-in my coworkers who were witnessing the closure of the camp, people who were determined to find housing for the most vulnerable, people who were outraged that there wasn’t a better plan in place for those displaced, and also in those who were pleased that the camp was closing. I was again reminded of the deep-seated trauma that permeates all actions in our county.

God is at work in mysterious ways.  My hope is that I work in the Spirit to ease the pain of those who are traumatized, marginalized, and rejected. As Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, “…and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations…” Let’s all tap into this Holy Spirit power and love.