Friday, December 05, 2008

Walking on Water


One bright sunny morning, Abba Ah Beng was in a small boat on a lake below the Sow Lin Monastery. In the same boat were his disciples Ah Lek and Ah Kow, and a visiting monk, Abba Isaac. They were sharing a Christian meditation on Jesus walking on water (Matt.14: 22-34).

“Why was Jesus walking on water?” asked Abba Ah Beng of his disciples.

“To get to the other side,” answered Ah Lek innocently, “because there were no more Air Asia tickets?” Whack! “Ouch.” “Be serious,” said Abba Ah Beng, his face turning a darker shade of crimson. “To prove that he can?” ventured Ah Kow cautiously, eyeing the bamboo fan that Abba Ah Beng was holding.

“And why does he need to prove that?” Abba Ah Beng asked, his facial colour returning to normal. The two disciples developed a sudden interest in examining their feet while Abba Isaac looked at the clouds above with a hint of a smile on his face.

“To show the disciples that he is more than a miracle worker? That he is the Son of God?” Ah Kow ventured an answer. Abba Ah Beng beamed at the response looking at Abba Isaac. “Aiya, showoff,” whispered Ah Lek under his breath.

“Jesus wanted to expand his disciples’ understanding of who he is,” explained Abba Isaac in his lecturer voice, “by proving that he could defy the laws of nature by walking on water. He also wanted to show that this ability may apply to others if they have enough faith as he demonstrated with Peter also walking on water. Unfortunately, Peter doubted and he sank. As Abba Joseph had written, it is our faith that keeps us afloat.”

“It is time for me to get back to the monastery,” Abba Ah Beng said, standing up in the boat. Then he climbed over the left side of the boat. To the disciples’ astonishment, he only sank until his knees and then was able to stand upright. They watched Abba Ah Beng’s receding back with their mouths open. Abba Ah Beng moved from the boat towards the distant shore opposite the monastery. The further he walked, the higher he rose until he was walking on the surface of the water. When he reached the shore he turned round and looked at Abba Isaac. Abba Isaac too climbed out of the boat and walked towards the shore in a similar manner as Abba Ah Beng.

“Wow,” exclaimed Ah Lek as they watched the retreating back of Abba Isaac, “what faith, man! I didn’t know Abba Ah Beng and Abba Isaac can walk on water.”

“Think we can too?” Ah Kow wondered.

“Of course,” said Ah Lek, “We have faith don’t we? Let us claim some more faith.”

So both the disciples sat in the boat, screwed their eyes tight and in their minds claim greater faith to walk on water. After a few seconds, Ah Lek said, “Let’s go! Let’s go over the right side so that we can reach the shore before Abba Isaac.”

Ah Lek climbed over the right side of the boat and promptly sank. He rose to the surface sputtering water. “You have not enough faith,” laughed Ah Kow, “let me show you.” Ah Kow climbed over the right side and also sank. “Ahh! Help! Cannot swim.” “Don’t worry,” shouted Ah Lek, “I am a qualified lifeguard.”

Meanwhile the two Abbas were watching from the shore. “Do you think we should tell them that the lake is very shallow on the left side of the boat?” Abba Ah Beng mused to Abba Isaac.

Unexamined spiritual assumptions may be very dangerous


Update:

Some comments from Alwyn Lau

painting source

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6 Comments:

Blogger Kar Yong said...

I really like this one!! How true that we often assume things "spiritually"!

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Dr Alex, I'm a fan of your Abba Ah Beng stories.I like the part "The further he walked, the higher he rose until he was walking on the surface of the water." faith increase?!! someone once pointed out that to assume is to make as ass out of u and me.:(

God bless
Vicky

4:47 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Kar Yong,

Personally I feel that we have made too many assumptions in churches, often beyond what the Bible really says.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Vicky,

Welcome. I am glad you like the Abba stories.

I really like your 'to assume is to make an ass out of u and me.' ha! ha! That's really good.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous alwyn said...

hey maybe we can start a list about the top 10 of 'controversial' spiritual assumptions...esp in Malaysia...one of them could be, "when i sin badly, the next calamity is a direct result of my sin"...

12:41 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi Alwyn,

That's a good idea. How about,"if I give God $10, He is obligated to give me $100 in return..."

12:55 AM  

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