Our June 20 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The June 27 Sunday worship service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services.
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Job 38:1-11 | Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
2 Corinthians 6:1-13 | Mark 4:35-41
Peace! Be Still! The Gospel lesson is an obvious link to the Job lesson, and also Genesis 1, and a couple of the psalms. They demonstrate God’s power over creation, and as Creator. With Jesus calming the sea, this establishes that Jesus has the same power as God. Why? He is the Son of God, and the very Author of Creation. The story tells us something else as well, but you really have to know your Scripture and History to get it. Calming the sea demonstrates another power. The sea, in Genesis, and to a small degree it is hinted at in the Job text, is the epitome of chaos, and evil. God says to the sea, this far, and no farther. In Genesis, when God’s Spirit is upon the sea (the face of the deep), that is an indication of limiting the chaos, and even bringing order out of that chaos, but also, of subduing evil. Jesus calming of the sea also shows, then, that he has ultimate power even over ultimate evil, as well as the power to control the uncontrollable!
Now, the disciples knew the sea as chaos and evil. They feared it. Even the fishermen among the disciples feared it. When plying their trade, Hebrew fishermen rarely went more than about 100 yards off shore to throw their nets. Why? Well, first, because most of them didn’t know how to swim for one thing!. But second, the sea was symbolic of evil and chaos, and in a storm, this was evil and chaos unleashed. That’s why they are all terrified during this storm. Contrast that with Jesus, who is calmly taking a nap in the boat (which isn’t that easy to do). The disciples must have thought that he was nuts. He’s sleeping calmly while we are scared to death! That’s probably what they were really thinking when they woke him up. “If this boat swamps and we go down, we will all drown. Let’s wake him up so he can share that terrifying prospect with us! Why should he be allowed to sleep through this, just because he is our teacher?” But, he is more than just their teacher. He is the one who can bring order out of chaos, and stop evil in its tracks.
Peace! Be Still! Have you ever wondered, that although Mark records that Jesus said these words to the wind and the sea, that maybe, just maybe, he also aimed them at the disciples? I do. There are a couple of reasons why I think this. For starters, the disciples are panicking. In a crisis, there is nothing that makes the situation worse than a group of people panicking. No doubt the disciples’ actions aren’t helping the boat swamping any.
I went white water rafting once with a group of friends on the Truckee River in California. I soon found out that I was the only person in my raft who had ever done it before. When we hit the first, real, rapids, they all panicked. The raft spun around several times. We were all paddling at cross purposes. We nearly all ended up in the water. I ended up taking all of their paddles away from them, just for survival purposes. Never panic in a boat, especially a small one.
Second, Jesus was just enjoying some rest after teaching to the crowds. No one really likes to be woken up after a hard earned rest. He might have been a little bit peeved at the disciples. Peace! Be Still! I’m trying to get some sleep here.
But the third reason is what he says next, “What are you afraid of? Haven’t you got any faith, even now?! I’m with you. You are safe. Even and chaos and evil must obey me.” That’s when the disciples really get terrified. That’s when they start wondering who else Jesus is. Even the wind and the waves obey him!!
Peace! Be Still! In our world, whether the wind and the waves are storming or not, we really need to hear these words. Our world is hectic all of the time. It has been particularly scary this past year. Now, we are going back to “normal.” What that means really, after a year in slow speed is that everything is done in a hurry, and we often find ourselves rushing from one place to another. We can blame “reopening.” We can blame evil and chaos, but we also have to blame ourselves. This is the world situation which we, in large measure, created for ourselves. A couple of things which we forget: Rush jobs are usually shoddy jobs; Quantity is usually not quality; Rushing in without thinking usually ends in running out, just as fast as we possibly can to get out of the mayhem; when all is in turmoil, we have no peace, we are off balance, and we fall; when our world keeps spinning faster and faster, it is hard to walk a straight line – because we are dizzy; the world won’t pass us by if we stand still for a bit, this past year proved that; and silence may not be golden to some, but sometimes it is at least silver!
In our tradition, we had this thing built into the system to help us with Peace! Be Still! It was called the Sabbath. It’s a day of rest, refreshment and devotion. We need to give it a try again. One day out of seven to get our bearings right again, to see the chaos and evil around us, and know that God silences them. And He is with us, and for us.
In our hectic lives, we need to hear that call to peace and stillness. It reminds us that when things seem totally out of control, Christ is in control. That in the storm tossed boat which our lives have become, Jesus is in the boat with us. We might think we control the boat, but he controls the wind and the waves. In times of crisis, it is Christ who will bring us to safe harbor. Trust in him. Have faith in him. For he is God with us, and even more than that, he is God for us. So, Peace! Be Still! Trust in God, for in faith, you are already saved. Your Savior is already here.