4th Sunday after Pentecost
Weathering the Storms of Life
Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers and father figures. May your day be filled with pleasant memories and the making of new ones.
You are all familiar with the book Women Are From Venus and Men Are From Mars. That was all about communication differences. Well it may come as no surprise then that Moms and Dad’s parent differently. They protect differently. Some of you are not going to be pleased with this and to be clear there are always exceptions to the rule but in general inherently different styles can be seen between Dads and Moms.
Dads are inclined to be both hands on and hands off. Bike-pushing and then a difficult mountain bike trail; or swimming lessons followed by a white water raft trip. Moms on the other hand insist on protective gear like knee and elbow pads, life jacket, and bike helmets. Dads are apt to say, “Don’t worry too much!.” Whereas, Moms say “You worried me to death!”
Because children need both types of parenting, a single parent is faced with a very difficult challenge to meet that need. They have to find a person or way to bring all that both a Mom and Dad give to enrich the life of their kids.
Dads are optimists. They take risks constructed on knowledge and skills they possess and that they have taught their children well. From dads come the gifts of confidence, courage, and risk, all built on trust. Every child needs this gift from someone.
Jesus taught like a father’s and loved like a mother. His disciples went with him as he taught so that they learned by doing. Like any child the disciples got things wrong most times. We see that clearly in today’s lesson.
It has been a long exhausting day of teaching and Jesus and the disciples want to go to a quiet place and find moments of peace. They head out across the Sea of Galilee in a small boat. Jesu falls asleep almost immediately. Storms were known to form quickly over the Sea of Galilee . That day was no different and soon the storm was tossing the boat around. But the exhausted Jesus was not awakened by the storm. That was not the case for the disciples. They are in a panic. Just because they were fisherman did not mean they knew how to swim. Most all of the fishermen I knew in Nova Scotia did not know how to swim! The disciple pound on Jesus to wake him while screaming, “Don’t you care that we are drowning!!!” Having awaked Jesus in such an abrupt way it is a wonder he didn’t keelhaul them (“to haul under the keel of a ship as punishment or torture; to rebuke severely”(merriam-webster.com). But he didn’t. The only rebuke Jesus makes is to the storm for disrupting the peace. Unfazed, Jesus simply walks to the side of the boat and confidently stills the raging storm.
Now imagine you are one of the disciples. This is the first time Jesus has exhibited his power over nature and you have witnessed this miracle. There were many faith healers in Jesus’ time. Here was one that could control the waves and the wind.
We are all high-fiving each other over our choice to follow Jesus. Did we pick the right teacher for what. We sure are blessed.
We move from high-fiving to body slamming one another. Can you believe what we just saw? That was Jesus’ doing what was seemingly impossible. We were there to see Jesus perform the greatest miracle in history. We are the first to see Jesus perform the miraculous. We are blessed!
And that ’s whatJesus turns and says to us his high diving, body slamming disciples. Congratulations disciples you have witnessed my greatest work.
We often act like the
What he really said to the disciples was “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” I was in the boat and the Holy Spirit was billowing the sails, what did you have to fear? What could have harmed you? The stunned disciples in their panic separate from Jesus. We often act like the disciples. We expect others to share our fear and distress. If the others seem detached from the situation we accuse them of not caring about our suffering. Panic reactions can divide us from others who might help just as they can cause us to doubt God’s love for us.
Mark may have formulated the story with the suffering and uncertainty of his own church in mind. It should reassure them that Jesus has the power to save believers even in the worst circumstances.
Doubts about God also emerge in times of crisis. Mark’s readers were familiar with the destructive effects of persecution. The weaknesses of the disciples encourage later believers to persist despite doubts about God’s saving presence.
The boat didn’t sink: because Jesus is still with us we can relax and have no fear. We can talk to God when storms arrive. We can ride the waves with joy and peace.
Jesus doesn’t promise calm seas but he does promise to calm us in every sea.
Jesus doesn’t promise to speak peace to each storm that presents itself. However, he does promise to wrap us in perfect peace when we are in the midst of every perfect storm.
If you seek a quiet life of contentment and peace then don’t follow Jesus.
If you want a life that you can control, since it is all mapped out for you, then don’t follow Jesus.
Faith isn’t about hugging close to the harbor. Faith is bungee jumping off a bride. The more you take risks, the more likely you will survive and thrive. From the perspective of faith, life’s ultimate risk is not to risk anything.
“As the crew of the Andrea Gale found out, there is always one storm bigger than any boat. There are Perfect Storms. No gets out of life alive. Even in the worst case scenario, even if the Rock doesn’t walk on water but sinks and drowns what is the worst that can happen?
As long as we are in the boat with Jesus,”nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). In fact, “For me, to live in Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
When we are in the same boat with Jesus, it all comes out all right in the end.
I sense there is a storm brewing in our church. Parking lot conversations are taking place. There is dissatisfaction among a small group yet nothing is brought to the surface and verbalized with the entire church. What is there to be afraid of in bringing issues out in the open? We can’t solve these concerns if they are not raised so the entire church can have a voice. If we continue to be divided, if we aren’t all in the boat then we will certainly not survive the storm.
We are coming out of a fourteen month stretch of isolation. As we struggle in our grief each one of us will handle that journey in a different way. We need to be kind to one another, love one another, and pray for one another. We are humans with human frailties. It is important that our faith in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit be strong like our mustard seed last week. We need to have faith in God that God has a plan for this church as it moves forward. We need to be in the boat with Jesus and not be afraid of taking risks as we look to the future.
So use the suggestion box if you want to raise a question, suggestion, or concern. We ask that you sign your name to your note so that we can direct an answer to the right person if it is something that applies only to you.
May we have open hearts and open minds. We need to pray for peace within this community of faith. In Christian love, Amen