"Jesus made the disciples get into the boat...while he went up the mountain by himself to pray...And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea...Peter said , "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat...But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him..." - Matthew 14:22-30
There are so many ways to get care wrong. I've shown up to visit a church member only to hear, "What are you doing here?" I've assumed I wasn't needed and been asked, "Why didn't you reach out?" I've also been on the receiving end of care that felt like too much, too little, or just not right.
In this story Jesus gives a master class in caring well. He knows there are times when people can sail on with only our prayers; times when they want us to walk with them through the storm; and moments when they are drowning and need to be rescued.
All of which you may know too, but discerning the time for each is the tricky part. At least for me.
Peter helps. He doesn't get much credit, but being able to ask for the care he needs is no small feat. All Jesus does is follow his instructions.
Our communities can be places of great care. When we ask for what we need. When we listen to what others tell us. When we forgive each other's mistakes. There are so many ways to get care right.
Caregiver, I pause to remember what I need in this moment. And you already know.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.