Opening Question: Who has courage? Why do you think they have courage?
First Reading: 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
Elijah wasn’t afraid of anyone. He told the evil King Ahab what he thought. He didn’t like the way the king ignored God and treated the people badly. Elijah was a prophet. His job was to tell the king the truth, whether the king liked it or not.
While Elijah was brave, he wasn’t stupid. He knew the King was really angry and wanted to kill him. So, Elijah escaped into the mountains, so he could talk to God. This is what happened:
Elijah reached Mt. Sinai and spent the night in a cave.
The Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain,” the Lord replied. “I want you to see me when I pass by.”
All at once, a strong wind shook the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the Lord was not in the wind. Next, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat.
Contemporary English Version
Elijah was brave. The king, an earthquake, or even lightning didn’t frighten Elijah. But the prophet knew who as really in charge. And he knew who would take care of him. God. When he heard God’s voice in the tiniest of breezes, he covered his head, so he could pray like other Jews do.
When we pray to God, we have no reason to be afraid. God is in charge, he will take care of us. Bullies, or earthquakes or lightening don’t matter.
Bridging Question: What scares most people? Why is it scary?
Immediately after he fed the people with bread and fish, Jesus made his followers get into a boat and set sail for the other side of the Sea of Galilee without him. Meanwhile, he sent the people home. After that, he went up a mountain by himself to pray. During the evening, Jesus was there alone. But the boat, already some distance from the shore, was tossed around by the waves since a strong wind blew against it.
Before dawn the next morning, Jesus walked on the water toward them. When his followers saw him walking on the water, they got very upset.
“It’s a ghost!” they cried out in fear.
“Courage! I am here. Don’t be afraid!”Jesus told them
“Lord, if it’s you, command me to join you on the water,” Peter replied
“Join me!”Jesus said.
Peter got out of the boat and walked out on the water toward Jesus. But, when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he panicked. As he began to sink into the water, Peter shouted, “Lord, save me!”
Jesus quickly reached out his hand and grabbed Peter.“Why did you doubt me? You really don’t trust me.”Jesus said.
Jesus and Peter got into the boat and the wind calmed down. Then, those in the boat worshiped Jesus. “You are truly God’s Son!” they said.
Jamie and Sammy were excited to spend the night with Chuck. “Chuck’s cool!” Jamie said. “He has video games, a big screen TV, and a water slide to his pool!” Sammy agreed, “It’s going to be a great night!”
That night, Jamie, Sammy, and Chuck had pizza and ice cream. They played all sorts of video games and watched several movies on video. After dark, someone suggested they go swimming in Chuck’s huge pool. “Water slide!” Jamie yelled. A warm pool on a cool night seemed the right thing to do.
And it was! Down the slide, off the jumping board, through the inner tubes. They were having the greatest time. Then, suddenly, the power went out. Not just in the house or the neighborhood. The entire city went black in an instant. Without the moon for light, darkness covered the boys like a blanket.
“Jamie, are you alright?” Sammy asked. “Yeah! Where’s Chuck?” Jamie responded. “Down here in the deep end. Going down the slide in the dark is the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Chuck said. They all laughed nervously.
At first, swimming in the dark seemed like fun. They couldn’t see each other. Their blindness was exciting. But, soon it got scary. Even when they got to the side of the pool, they were so disoriented, they couldn’t find their way to the house. Jamie and Chuck got out, sat down, and shook in the chilly night air. Sammy decided to stay in the pool to keep warm.
“Where’s your mom?” Sammy asked Chuck. Did she leave? Wasn’t she watching the us? What happened to her? Chuck thought.
Suddenly, Chuck’s mom appeared with a light candle. “Are you boys alright?” Chuck’s mom asked. The relief she heard from their sighs answered the question.
“Ah! Let’s dry off and go inside where its warm,” Chuck said. The boys all agreed.
Water in total darkness. Many people think this is the scariest thing in the world. Think of water and darkness. But now add a storm. That could be REALLY scary. Just like the boys in the pool, the followers of Jesus must have panicked. Where’s Jesus? Who is that ghost? Were they going to drown?
But Jesus walked on the water toward his followers to show them he was really in charge. In charge of darkness, in charge of the storm, in charge of their fears and worries. He was in charge because he was GOD!
The next time, you’re scared, really scared, remember the story of the followers in the boat. And remember whose really in charge. Jesus!
Closing Question: Think of a time you were really scared. How could prayer help you to calm down and think clearly?