In the Scripture text where Peter says to Jesus who is walking on the water, “Lord, if it is you, bid me, come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14: 28) and Jesus calls out to him. Things go swimmingly well, Peter defies gravity and the laws of Physics and begins to walk on water like Jesus did. However, we read further, that “when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” To which, Jesus “immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (Matthew 14: 30-31) While Scripture doesn’t say much about the other disciples on the boat, we know that they were “terrified” (Matthew 14: 26), yet I have often wondered if Peter would have sunk to begin with, if the other disciples on the boat were encouraging him to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus.

The Christian Community is both centre and compass. 

Amidst the raging waves, the relentless winds of change, the insurmountable mountains to climb – the presence of the Christian Community recalibrates the person to the centre calm where God dwells within us. Of interesting note, when Jesus appointed “seventy others”, He does not send them out to carry their mission alone, but he sent them out “ahead of Him, two by two” (Luke 10:1) The pair then act as compasses to each other, reminding, consoling, and edifying each of them of their mission. The mission would have failed if the disciples set out alone, for Man’s psyche is fragile and tempted by our own thoughts, discouragements, and the voices that are not from God, we often lose our way. Yet the presence of an accountability partner, a co-worker in the harvest of the Lord, motivates the other person on, especially when a person is wont to give up. In prayer, in compassionate listening, and in consistent checking-in with the Lord, the pair are able to navigate safely through life’s tumultuous tempests.

The community exists so that no one is left behind. To borrow a quotation from Pope Francis, “What could be more beautiful for us than walking with our people?” (Pope Francis, 2018) He continues:

…walking with our people, sometimes in front, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes behind: in front in order to guide the community, in the middle in order to encourage and support; at the back in order to keep it united and so that no one lags too far behind, to keep them united (2018, p.115)

Matthew 5: 13-14 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.” 
The metaphor of salt and light to a community is important, for our task is season the people in the community should they lose their flavour, and our task is to let the light of God shine out and radiate from us like lighthouses, to lead the community back to safety, should the members of the community have their own lights diminished or dimmed out, which could happen with the incidences of illness within a community, or if a member of the community is feeling depression or overwhelmed by anxiety.
The Christian Journey is a journey that is fraught with dangers and distractions. We cannot cope alone and we need the Christian Community to help us find the path that we are to take, and to stick to that right path. Again we see the wisdom of Pope Francis (2018):

Hope, to be nourished, necessarily needs a ‘body’, in which the various members support and revive each other. This means, then, that if we hope, it is because many of our brothers and sisters have taught us to hope and have kept their hope alive (p.96).

The implications are these – we are not walking alone on our journey, and if we were, we would not get very far, for the anguish and the weariness of the journey and the world soon overcomes us, leading us to fall short of our destination and our path. The community thus determines how well the journey will end, and how far, the community may journey together – as each builds the other up, as each rebukes the other should there be waywardness and falling away from the end-goal and the mission, and each supports or carries his brother and sister.


By the Grace of God,

Brian Bartholomew Tan

Pope Francis. (2018). Happiness in this life. (S. Whiteside, Trans.). Bluebird. (Original work published 2017).