As a community that gathers to make known the presence of God, we must live in ways contrary to the self-interested, oppressive, fickle, and harsh ways of the world in which perceptions of power, status, and wealth determine actions. This begins by learning to be human together, and that means being people of unlimited forgiveness.
In the end, the teachings of Jesus show that if adhering to our doctrines (our comfort, traditions, beliefs, or customs) become more important than the way we treat others, we will not be defiled by breaking them. Rather, it will be in following them at the expense of others that will defile us.
Reading this passage against the grain, we might ask if the desire to be "lords over nature" is in line with what we have learned thus far from the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps it is better to be like-God than to strive to be god-like. Perhaps the challenge for us today is not to learn how to walk on the water, but how to protect and care for it. Perhaps, in this liminal time of transformation, when we are learning what it means to be truly human, following Jesus will not lead to the call of being lords over nature, but lead us to learn from creation and to be mutual caretakers with it.
For this week's text from the Gospel of Matthew, if we stick strictly to the lectionary reading we will lose some key information for interpreting today's passage. Read within the context of Matthew's narrative, this passage is part of an overall agenda to show the Reign of Heaven in comparison to the empire.
Lord make me a channel of your disturbance. Where there is apathy, let me provoke...
There is no getting around the importance of the first verse of this week's text from Matthew: “A disciple is not above the teacher" (Mt 10:24). This verse is not Jesus' attempt to underline his authority, but rather aimed at indicating the costs involved in doing the kind of world-healing work Jesus has set out to do, and is now calling his disciples to participate in.