And when Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’
Save me means very different things at different times. I’m sure the people trapped in Grenfell Tower meant save me in the same way that the disciples on the boat asked Jesus to save them. Yet the language of saving, being saved, salvation, has wider contexts in church, where we link it to eternal life. Some people ask the question when were you saved, by which I think they mean when did you become a Christian. One answer to that question is AD33, because being saved is something rather wider than just me and God. However, we don’t actually pray, “save me.” It’s “save us.” As we’ve noted all the way through the Lord’s Prayer, it’s communal, it’s not just me on my own, it’s us.
“Save” is a word of crisis, reminding us that the temperature of the Lord’s Prayer is rising. Things are not right in the world. Far too often, people have sold faith as the answer to all your problems, yet we know that’s nonsense. What we’re praying is not for these things to go away, but for God to give us strength to find a way through them, a way to bear them, and at times that will feel like a fight, a fight for which we need the whole armour of God.
Indeed, in those situations where we feel up against it, we’re not just up against something within us, but up against powers in the world beyond us; things like the economy, which seems to determine so much in our lives; things like race and gender, which determine so much of what happens to us in life; things like the media, which feed us images, facts, names, sights and sounds that determine our angle of vision. It seems we really do need God to save us!
Creator of the universe, you are everything to us. We cannot find the words to tell you how much we adore all that you are constantly in our world. May we, when we cannot find the words, find the grace to stand in your presence and adore. Amen
The Rev’d Michael Hopkins is Minister of the Spire Church, Farnham, Elstead URC, and serves as Clerk of the General Assembly.