Saturday, June 20, 2009

3 Pentecost: Stormy seas

Readings are here.

Some random thoughts towards a sermon for tomorrow.
We used to have a small boat that we took out on Boysen Reservoir. As many know the mornings are calm and sunny but by mid afternoon thunderstorms begin to build and the storms can sweep across that lake in a matter of minutes. One day we were out in the middle of the lake when one of these storms came up. We made for the boat ramp, Jim jumped out to get the Suburban and boat trailer - back it down the ramp (there were others doing the same). I was out in the boat circling, awaiting my turn. The wind began to blow, the waves were crashing over the bow. I continued to circle, strapping on my life vest (I know, I know, I should have put it on first thing). Finally I saw that the trailer was in position. The wind was blowing across the boat pushing it off course. I knew I would have one chance to make it. Aiming the boat up wind from where I needed to end up I revved up the engine and shot towards shore. The boat hit the boat trailer and practically went into the back seat. We wrangled the whole thing up out of the water and up the ramp. Whew!

As I read about the disciples out on the sea of Galilee - a body of water known for storms that come up quickly - I thought about my experience. Their boat was larger but not by much - they had no engine, only oars and a sail. I can imagine the scene - Jesus sleeps (no fear in him), the storm terrifies the disciples. They shout at Jesus and shake him awake - help help - we are going to die! Jesus awakens, stretches, looks around and asks them why they have no faith. The way I see it - they were fishermen - they know sailing in rough weather - what had happened to make them turn to Jesus (a carpenter) for help?

As I read the story - it is not so much that Jesus calms the seas as he provides the calm around him that allows the disciples to remember that they know boats and seas and storms - they can cope with the situation. The sea suddenly seems calm to them.

How often to we get to feeling so overwhelmed that we forget that we know things, we forget to use the our gifts and the gifts of the community? The storms of life will happen. Turning to Christ in prayer may not change the situation but it will definitely help us to have peace in the midst of the storm. Like Paul in the epistle we can work together with God, we can open our hearts to the peace that passes understanding.

A painting of the storm at sea here.


kehf said...

I really like this idea-- that rather than literally calming the sea, Jesus reminded the disciples of their own abilities. He empowered them to deal with it on their own.

Ann said...

Bp Gene Robinson has a piece of calligraphy over his desk that someone gave him at his consecration as bishop:
"Sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms the child."

Ann said...

And -- from St. Augustine: "Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him."

Ann said...

The first part of the St. Augustine quote:
"So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune--shipwreck."

Grandmère Mimi said...

Like being in the eye of the hurricane. All is peaceful and calm. Except with a hurricane the worst may be yet to come.

The eye of Gustav passed over us in New Roads, and we thought the storm was over, but then the winds came again from another direction.

Not a good analogy, I guess, but you make an excellent point. The peace is inside us and not dependent on the circumstances that surround us.