Collect and Readings for Third Sunday after Trinity 20th June 2021 Year B Job 38.1-11, Psalm 107.1-3, 23-32, 2 Corinthians 6.1-13, Mark 4.35-end;
The Prayer for today: Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I wonder how many of us have pets or have had them in the past? Let's have a think about what they like to eat and do. When I had cats in the past they liked to find a sunny place and curl up and have a sleep. Our dog used to like to chase balls and lie down in the stream to cool down.
But how do they behave when they are frightened or feel threatened, and how do we calm them down?
Of course, it's not just our pets who get worried, angry and upset – we humans do as well. In today's reading we hear about the time when Jesus' friends were so frightened they were panicking, and we saw how Jesus calmed them down. If you remember, Jesus was actually asleep. And the disciples woke him up to tell him to start worrying! With stormy waves pitching the boat up and down, and the water coming in over the side it was beginning to look like a Titanic situation, and there was Jesus fast asleep in the bottom of the boat.
Sometimes we do that too, if life seems very scary, and everything seems to be going wildly out of control. We scream out to Jesus, demanding that he notices and does something, instead of being so calm about it all. It's almost as if we want him to panic as well. I wonder how many times we have done this in the last 18 months.
Once Jesus has been fully shaken awake, he doesn't seem to get caught up in the excitement. He can see that it isn't only the disciples who are churned up but the weather as well. Perhaps he sees a good way to help the disciples understand more about who he is. The disciples are so scared at the moment that they can't take anything in. So instead of calming them down, Jesus calms the wind and the waves. As the howling wind eases and settles quietly again, and the pounding waves flatten back to a gentle lapping around the battered boat, the disciples calm down as well. In the lull they recover themselves and stop panicking.
What does Jesus do next? Wait for their applause? Go back to sleep? No of course not, we now find him teaching them, because they are now calm enough to listen. He talks to them about trusting God, even in the middle of raging storms.
Often in life we will find that when we have invited Jesus into our boat, into our life, we don't get so thrown by all the stormy problems, such as quarrels in friendships, loved ones moving away, financial problems, pressure and stress at work. And if we are panicking about them so much that we can't hear Jesus helping us to weather the storm, then often we'll find that we're given a bit of space, where things are calmed down long enough for us to realise that, with God in charge, we don't actually need to be terrified.
Some questions for you to reflect on:
How many times have you been frightened or afraid and panicked?
What helped calm you down?
How can you learn to trust that God will be there to support you through the storms of life?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson