Church of England Diocese of Bath & Wells Portbury

Sunday 20/06/21

Trinity 3 

Mark 4:35-41 Job 38:1-11

Isn’t it funny how we rely so much on what we’re used to? Only the other day, I had set out to do certain things as planned, all of which required the use of electricity, only to find that for a full morning our supply would be switched off due to maintenance on the grid. After my first frustration had cooled, I then struck a brilliant idea: instead of using a plugged-in computer, I could revert to pen and paper, for at least one task if not two! Sometimes we just need to be reminded of a power greater than ourselves, and accept that there’s a reason, even if we don’t think it’s too convenient.

Things were certainly not very convenient for Job, and that’s an understatement. After he has lost everything on earth that he held dear, except his life, his friends try to console him, but their words are hollow and do not convey the authority and care of the Lord God. And so, God himself speaks, and points out to Job and his friends that their understanding of God is too limited, something that the disciples come to see in their experience on the lake in a storm. As they try to reach the other side, a furious squall comes up, and the waves break over the boat, so that it nearly gets swamped. Jesus is in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. Don’t you like that touching detail of a cushion? So the disciples, in their agony, wake him up, saying, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ And Jesus gets up, rebukes the wind, and says to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind dies down and it’s completely calm. And Jesus says to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’

Now what terrifies the disciples even more at this moment is the authority over creation that Jesus owns. He literally rules over the wind and the waves and brings them under his control. Jesus slept during the storm, as if it couldn’t touch him at all, and then, when the disciples are at their wits’ end, he just speaks and the storm dies down.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about dates and data; and about how, with the aid of science, we can get a grip on, and perhaps even control, Covid-19. But even though science is a gift from God that should be used appropriately and for the benefit of all creation, it is that same creation that was made by God in the first place and that speaks of his wisdom and care. When I am in my garden, and see a butterfly landing on a flower and collecting the nectar from it, it fills me with awe and joy to see the intricate wisdom of it all. No test-tube could have created that balance of nature that speaks of God’s power and his love.

There’s plenty of problems in this world. It’s a sad truth that so often they spring from our human tendency of making ourselves look big, while at the same time making God too small. If there’s just one thing that we take away from today’s readings, let it be a change in our perspective. Let it be a new appreciation of who God is, how Jesus has been God-with-us, and how much we are in need of God’s loving care and provision. It’s so easy to take things for granted, like relying on the supply of electricity in our part of the world. But the one who makes even the wind and the sea obey him, and who truly rules over them, should not be taken for granted. He deserves our full commitment and our respect. And when we give that to him, we find that he gives us, perhaps not everything we want, but certainly everything we need, including calm in the midst of the storms of life. Amen.

TrinityThreeMark4JesusCalmsTheStorm20062021, DOCX