The Revd Robin Sims-Williams
Last time I was on a horse the scene couldn’t have been more different than what I see here today. I was in the Yukon, in North West Canada, on a trail into the Klondike. Home, along with Alaska, of the gold rush of the late 19th Century. It was a wide barren land, with mountains round about. Certainly there wasn’t a Cake stall or a Tombola. Looking around I could imagine something of what life might have been like for the prospectors heading North in search of gold.
It was a treacherous journey and many didn’t survive. Horses became highly valued as men tried to survive the challenges of the North. They were trusted companions in the lonely desolate mountains. Those who were fortunate enough to have them, held to their horses to survive.
You can tell I chose the reading in the midst of the downpours on Wednesday. When it might have seemed likely we would all be walking on water, at least those of us fortunate enough to have a horse. Like the prospectors of the Gold rush trusting in their steeds to get them through, so Peter must trust in and hold onto Jesus when he is most desperate and most sure of failure. In revelation there is a reading which points to a white horse - one which clearly represents Jesus, demonstrating his majesty as he conquer’s the forces of evil. So we must hold fast to our steeds as if they were like Christ. A good seat and trust in your horse like Peter failed to do in Christ.
But while Peter might have failed to trust in Christ, Jesus trusted in Peter to be the rock of his church. Our horses trust in us for their lives, for their survival. It is as important to the prospective horse rider to learn to care for his or her horse as it is to learn to ride it. Those who failed to care for their animals in the far North saw them and their own hope of survival die. So it is for all people and animals in creation, we also are linked to one another, reliant on one another to survive. Caring for each other gives us all hope that we are not alone in the cold.
God calls us to grab hold of each other like Peter grabs hold of Christ from the lake. So hold onto your reigns. Trust that your horse will keep you safe and your horse will trust in you.