In our Gospel story today we read that Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea
of Galilee. They are moving from the Jewish side to the Gentile side, the side where
they are at home to the side where they are strangers, the side where life is familiar
to the side where it is new, different, and unfamiliar. This is not just a story
about the weather and a boat trip. It is a story about life, faith and fear.
Sometimes the sea of life is rough, the wind is strong, the waves are high, the boat
is taking on water and sinking. All of us know what that is like. Each one of us
could tell a “storm story.” Some of our stories will begin with a phone call, a doctor's
visit, or news we didn't want to hear. Some of them will start with the choices we
have made, our failings and our mistakes. Others will tell about the difficulty of
relationships, hopes and plans that fell apart, or the struggle to find our way.
Some storms seem to arise out of nowhere and take us by surprise. Other storms build
and develop as we watch. Storms happen. Storms of loss and sorrow. Storms of suffering,
confusion, storms of loneliness, disappointment and regret. Regardless of when and
how they arise storms are about changing conditions.
In the story from St. Mark today, the disciples are quick to make the storm about
Jesus. “Do you not care that we are perishing?” We have probably all echoed their
words in the storms of our lives. “Do something. Fix it. Make it better.” In the
midst of the storm on the Sea of Galilee Jesus seems absent and uncaring. How can
he possibly sleep at a time like this? Sleeping Jesus is not what the disciples want.
However, he is in the same boat and the same storm as the disciples. He is surrounded
by the same water as the disciples, blown by the same wind and beaten by the same
waves. But his response is different. While the disciples fret and worry, he sleeps.
The disciples want some action whilst Jesus sleeps in peace. Eventually Jesus speaks
to the wind and the waves. “Peace! Be still!”
Jesus isn't changing the weather as much as inviting the disciples to change. He
is speaking to the wind and waves within them. The disciples have been pointing to
what is going on outside them. Jesus now points to what is going on inside them.
He says to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
The words of Jesus are more about us than the circumstances of our lives and the
storms we meet. Storms happen. Faith, more 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. Let us remember that 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!”
God of the still small voice,
teach us each day to find times for moments of quietness,
to pray and meditate on your gracious love.
Breathe peace within our souls,
so that we may see the demands and responsibilities
of daily life in a fresh light,
able to meet them with rekindled faith
and calm assurance, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Canon Dave 19th June 2021
Canon Dave’s Weekly Message
After travelling on the train from Buxton to Manchester on Thursday through the stunning
countryside of the Peak District, we walked to the canal basin just outside Piccadilly
station and chatted to some boaters who were clearly enjoying their two week holiday
cruising the Cheshire Ring.
We then continued our walk through the city and watched people having coffee's outside
cafes and chatting away with radiant smiles. Continuing on our walk through the city,
we listened to a young man singing and playing the guitar delighting the crowds with
Sadly, in competition with him was a preacher standing on a box with confusing placards
around him, shouting and ranting about the end of the world, telling people to repent
before its too late. How embarrassing because nobody was taking any notice. I don't
really think this is the way to introduce people to Christianity. The singer/songwriter
had got it right and was helping the crowds to have a lovely day.