This week we have used tomorrow’s Gospel as our focus – The Storm at Sea.
That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.” So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. Suddenly a storm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink. Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?” Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm. Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?” Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
We all have experience of storms & fear & the desire to be ‘saved’ in our lives. We have found some pieces of writing to help us reflect on these moments – we hope you may find something here that resonates with your experience or will help you to understand more fully others going through stormy waters.
The blessing this week is Rutter’s ‘Go Forth’.
Go forth into the world in peace;
Be of good courage, hold fast that which is good,
Render to no one evil for evil. Go forth into the world in peace.
Strengthen the fainthearted, support the weak,
Help the afflicted, honour all persons. Love and serve the Lord,
Rejoicing in the power of the Spirit,
And the blessing of God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit
be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.
With our love & prayer for you all
Jesus points to what is going on inside them. “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Jesus’ words are more about us than the circumstances of our lives, the storms we meet. Storms happen. Faith, more faith, better faith, stronger faith, the right kind of faith do not eliminate the storms of our lives. Faith does not change the storm. It changes us. Faith does not take us around the storm but through the storm. Faith allows us to see and know that Jesus is there with us. Faith is what allows us to be still, to be peaceful, in the midst of the storm. It means we do not have to interiorize the storm.
The Spirit of God blows through and within us more mightily than the winds of any storm. The power of God is stronger than any wave that beats against us. The love of God is deeper than any water that threatens to drown us. In every storm Jesus is present and his response is always the same, “Peace! Be still!”
No Longer Afraid
When you forget your true identity as a beloved child of God, you lose your way in life. Insecure and frightened, you act not freely, but out of fear. You become preoccupied trying to please others and you lose the confidence to be yourself. You work hard to avoid rejection, or abandonment, and you may cling to people more from fear than freedom. In making compromises you may please people but lose touch with your original blessing, the connection to the deep and everlasting love of God.
Jesus announces to us, “Do not be afraid. I dwell in you till the end of time.”
Alleluia! Christ is risen, and we are no longer afraid.
We Can Do Hard Things
Glennon Doyle, a famous author and writer, frequently uses the phrase,
“We can do hard things.”
It’s one of her many mottos in life.
As a result, this declaration, “We can do hard things,”
Has become an anthem for so many.
You can buy these words on poster prints, on greeting cards, and even on coffee mugs.
These five simple words aren’t particularly radical,
So when I stop to think about why they have caught hold for so many,
I can only assume that it is because life and faith require courage.
Vulnerability requires courage.
Relationships require courage.
Advocacy and justice require courage.
Facing our privilege requires courage.
Faith requires courage.
Even confession requires courage.
So friends, let us do hard things,
trusting God is always there,
Cheering us on, in every courageous act.