Freedom out of the Storm
Season of Creation 3: Storm Sunday
Audio: Podcast (MP3) —click-play–>
Storm – intro
This week we celebrate as part of our Season of Creation the power of storms.
I think it would be fair to say that most of us don’t like storms,
whether they are personal in our life,
or the storms in the world around us, be they natural, or made by people and governments.
We tend to fear storms because they are unpredictable.
Scientists though will tell us that storms,
like bush fires are a necessary part of the stability of creation.
The problem for us comes when we alter creation,
like we appear to be doing at the moment,
and this creates stronger and more regular storms.
Luke’s only sea story
Our story from the Gospel of Luke is the only story in Luke around the sea.
Luke leaves out the walking on water,
and the other storms;
but this one is included.
When we think of storms and their power,
and their ability to shape and define our life,
I naturally think of Forrest Gump.
Have a look at this clip for a moment:
“Where’s this God of yours?” asks Lieutenant Dan.
There is this struggle within us that rages,
until such time we are willing to say to God: “Okay, reveal yourself to me.”
It is important for us to get to a point where we can say to God,
ok, you can show yourself to me,
or ok, you can reveal your plan for me,
or you may show me your ways.
Because it gives God permission to work in our lives.
And that moment of letting go,
that is the moment that God’s work starts to be seen in our life.
It’s not that God was not present working before,
it’s just that now we start to see it,
because we are ready to see what God is doing.
To the question: “Where’s this God of yours?”
Forrest narrates the story and says: “God turned up.”
And for Forrest God turned up in the storm,
in that you see the power of the creator in the storm.
Forrest sees the power of God in the storm,
the disciples though see the power of Jesus in his ability to still the storm.
There is this real calmness in how Jesus is protrayed in the stilling of the storm,
and I think that is because he was well prepared.
One of the keys in today’s Gospel is preparation.
When we go camping I never use the pegs that come with a tent,
I instead make new ones out of reinforcing bar.
We camp at sea-side camp grounds,
and the ground is always soft,
so you need long pegs.
Last year there were snickers from our new neighbours as I hammered in the tent pegs.
But, because of the preparation,
when it blows I can happily sleep.
One night there was a bit of a blow.
The neighbours woke up a bit bleary eyed the next morning,
and said along the lines:
“I wish I had your pegs last night,
I had to keep on putting mine back in.”
I lent him some for the rope that kept coming out.
The thing was,
when it blew I knew where I would stand,
there was no need to lay awake thinking would everything be ok,
there was no need to check ropes and pegs at 3 in the morning,
the ground work was done,
things were secure and safe.
It was similar to this for Jesus.
He wasn’t afraid of the storm as he had done his preparation.
He was completely prepared for what it was that was coming his way,
he had worked on his relationship with God,
and when the storm hit he knew where he stood.
So much so that he could sleep through the storm.
Where is your preparation
Where is your preparation?
AND How is your relationship going with God?
It is too late to prepare once you are in a storm,
that has to be done in the calm.
No matter what we do,
whether we are prepared or not,
storms will come our way,
and our preparation determines how well we will weather the storm.
Part of weathering a storm is knowing where we are,
or aren’t going.
There are times when staying put in a storm is the safe and sensible thing to do,
and there are times when it makes sense to be moving.
Anytime there is a storm,
almost always the boats that sink in a harbour are either:
– the boats carefully tied between two posts,
so they can’t move
– the boats tied up to the dock.
< – image – >
In a storm you get buffeted and blown about,
and you need to make sure you don’t hit things,
or it hurts.
In this image,
one boat has sunk,
another is in the process of sinking,
and the one just 20 metres off the dock,
swinging on it’s mooring is fine.
Preparation also has to do with knowing what to do in a storm.
This story from Luke is very different to Mark’s.
Mark’s Gospel is the shortest, most compact and action packed Gospel.
Yet here today in Luke,
Luke has abbreviated the story of Mark even more,
and left us only with the salient points.
Luke highlights this:
1) we see they are in danger
2) there is a salvation request
3) Jesus responds
The story ends with Jesus questioning his disciples, he says:
1) Where is your faith?
Paul in our reading from 1st Corinithians today says that the world finds our message foolish.
And concludes that all he, Paul, has to preach is that Christ was crucified.
Our main message then is that God gave up his life for us,
Christ was crucified.
And this seems like foolishness,
but ultimately Jesus who the world crucified is not only the source of life,
but also the source of the Wisdom of God,
that allows us to weather life’s storms.
We need to get close to and remain close to Jesus’ teachings.
As Jesus says to his disciples: “Where is your faith?”
We need to think,
where do we get our faith and values systems from?
Jesus simply said to the storm: “Calm down!” and the storm obeys.
If only we were so receptive to Jesus speaking into our own lives!
This calming of the storm is meant to strengthen our faith.
In the Exodus when the people crossed the sea,
Moses spoke and God parted the seas.
Our reading from Luke reminds us today that Jesus is doing what only God in the OT could do (controlling nature)
This story was re-told by the early church to remind them that Jesus wasn’t just a prophet,
he was God,
and he was able to do things that only God could do.
Who then is this?
The disciples say amongst themselves:
Who then is this.
Our story ends with the question: “Who is this?”
We are invited to draw the conclusion that Jesus is God,
but that decision is ultimately left up to you and I to make.
And it is where our lives take up this week.
Who then is Jesus to you?