January 29,1989 In my 30 years of preaching, I have never done a sermon on the passage just read, Jesus walking on water. (Mark 6:45-52) Why? One commentator says, "It's a story difficult for modern readers." How's that for understatement! The miracle story of Jesus walking on water is outrageous, certainly not for reasonable people like us who want a perfectly reasonable Christianity. Sure, I can understand walking on water during a typical Iowa winter when, of course, the water is frozen. But to do that in Galilee any time of the year, that's miraculous!
Today is the second Sunday of Advent, the second of four Sundays when Christians are called to prepare for the advent, the coming of God, in Christ in the babe of Bethlehem. This preparatory Advent season ends on December 25, the beginning of the 12 days of Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus.
It is not difficult to trace the roots of Edward A. Steiner's pacifism. Born into a Jewish family in the Slovakia area of Austria, Edward "grew up in a staunchly anti-militaristic family and lost both his father and an older brother in wars of the Austro-Hungarian Empire." After receiving his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg where he nurtured convictions against both nationalism and war and now fearful that he might be conscripted into the Austrian imperial army, the twenty-year old Steiner immigrated to America in 1886.