As part of the human race, we all have storms in our lives. We have our global warming, floods, droughts and famine storms. We have our religious terrorism and non- acceptance; social unrest in our cities; and a huge divide between the filthy rich and the very poor. We have storms in our hearts and souls that tear us up and those around us. These could be depression, bi-polar, obsessive compulsive and attention deficit disorders. We have all sorts of addictions to drugs and sex and gambling and on and on. I have people tell me all the time they hate watching the news. We do need to keep up on what is going on in the world but we certainly should not dwell on it. More importantly we could be working on ways to combat environmental, social and inward problems.
Mark 4: 35-41 is the story of Jesus calming the storm. Jesus told the disciple to pull up anchor and set sail to get away from the crowds for a while. While sailing a furious storm came up, with waves breaking over the boat and nearly sinking it. Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat. The disciples woke Him and asked, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are going to drown?’ Jesus rebuked the wind and it was completely calm. Verse 40 says, “ He said to the disciples, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were terrified and asked each other , “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!”
As I look at the ceilings of both Grace and Trinity I notice that they are both in the shape of an upside boat. That is why the church is sometimes referred to as the Ship of Christ. We the followers get to be disciples with Christ in the ship. We have to be very careful, however, not to get stuck in the ship. After all you can’t walk on water unless you get out of the ship.
I came across a cantata with music by Benjamin Britten and text by Eric Crozier. The cantata is called “Saint Nicholas.” There are nine movements in the cantata. Movement four is called “Journey to Palestine.” It depicts a sea voyage that the good saint took to the Holy Land. While on board the boat a great storm came up. The sailors had been making fun of Nicholas. The sailors were terrified and they joined Nicholas in prayer and the storm subsided. This is probably the reason why Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Sailors as well as Children and several countries.
So what about all the storms that we face in life? Our storms are inevitable and we have to do the best we can to live out happy lives. It seems to me that the only anchor that we have is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! There is a saying that “God is good all the time…… All the time God is good! Having God as our center will allow us to weather the storms in a more positive way. The English Mystic, Julian of Norwich, used to say , All is well, All is well, All matter of things will be well. She suffered greatly with physical ailments throughout her life. She was a joyous person because she had she had Jesus as the center of her life. She was able to live a positive, Christ filled life. So the question is will we choose Jesus as our Captain and Savior? Or will we be tossed around constantly and severely by life’s storms? AMEN!
-Father Ed Murphy, Shared Episcopal Ministry