Archive for June, 2009

Tuesday, June 30th. Mark 6:2-3

June 30, 2009

On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Mark 6:2-3

They used to call it “acting too big for your britches.” When someone used that line in describing someone else, it was always with a note of sarcasm, a criticism of someone who was puffed up with pride and pretending to be someone or something he wasn’t.

Or maybe those words were just about the jealousy and resentment in the criticizer.

The folks in Jesus’ weren’t prepared to hear what the Jesus who had become a man would see, or what the little boy they once knew could do. Jesus wasn’t the same anymore. There was authority and wonder about him. He had changed.

They had not changed.

They didn’t realized they had not changed until Jesus came into their midst. If the place and the people of Jesus’ hometown were his touchstone, then to the people of that place he had become a lightning rod. A dazzling shock of light, revealing what was true but otherwise unseen, casually ignored.

Mark writes that they took offense at him. Luke, in telling the same story, said that they were ready to take Jesus to the edge of town and throw him to his death off of Blind Man’s Bluff. For them, a hometown boy ought to know his place and his place was not at the front of the synagogue. They rejected the messenger and thereby missed the message.

I wonder how often we do that? I know we do it in the political world. When an elected official of a party other than the one we align with talks, we close our ears, harden our hearts and refuse to hear. We reject the messenger and thereby miss the potential truth, at least specks of truth, in the message.

We do it in our emotional lives. Someone might come to us in a spirit of care and concern, but if we sense the challenge they might be carrying, we reject the messenger and thereby miss the truth of the message.

And, the truth is, we still do the same thing to Jesus. We watch and listen to the stories of his ministry. We like words of comfort and peace but when he challenges our ungodly ways of thinking and acting – which is often mediated to us through the voice of another – we reject that voice, reject the messenger, and thereby miss the message.

But when our hearts and minds are open, when we aren’t thrown off by the challenge, maybe God has a thing or two to teach us along the way.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you were rejected in your hometown, rejected by the same people who were there as you grew up. Rejected both because of the person you had become and the words you had to say. We pray that, by the power of the Spirit in our lives, you might keep us open to your words and your ways, that we not be numbered among those who reject you still. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Monday, June 29th. Mark 6:1

June 29, 2009

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.” Mark 6:1

Thus begins the gospel reading assigned to this weekend, a reading which will be heard in every congregation that follows the revised common lectionary to order its public hearing of scripture.

Ironically, many faithful church members won’t be hearing these words in their home congregations because they, like Jesus in the text, will be traveling home. Or traveling to exotic places like campgrounds, Disneyland, Philadelphia or Fargo. But many will indeed be traveling to their hometowns over this upcoming holiday weekend.

Someone who was both insightful and witty once wrote: “Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” Interestingly, there seems to be great disagreement about who actually wrote that line, Google suggests Thomas Wolfe or Robert Frost; I was under the impression it was T.S. Eliot. Perhaps lots of people arrived at the same sentiment because they have shared the same experience.

There really is no place like home.

But what is home? And what is a hometown? In my case, my family moved to Wahpeton, North Dakota, the year before I began kindergarten and I lived there, with a brief 9 month sojourn in Fargo, until I graduated from high school. My mother moved away soon after so I haven’t had a “home” in my hometown since I was 18. But, even though I wasn’t born there, and even though its only impact on my adult life has been memories and somewhat annual one night stand visits to see the place and a few people, it is where I’m from.

I don’t have any relatives there anymore, haven’t had relatives there for years now. But it will ever remain my hometown.

The truth is, many people are blessed with the memories of a hometown, perhaps complete with a family home still in the family. But most people don’t have either and certainly most people don’t have both. “Hometown” in fact is probably not about the place or even the people, it is instead a kind of psychic foundation, a touchstone. A way of both remembering and charting movement. It might be where we are “from” but it is also then a testament to who we have become along the way.

Jesus’ hometown wasn’t ready to discover who he had become.

Here is an aside: One of the most painful of the prices paid by the families of men and women serving in the armed forces is the sacrifice of a “home town” for their children. It isn’t unusual to hear an adult raised in a military family say they attended 12 or more different schools, even in different countries, before graduating from the last one. When you celebrate Independence Day this weekend, please be mindful not only of the military sacrifices of those who have served our country in securing our freedoms but also of the emotional sacrifices necessarily visited upon their families.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, protect those who travel this upcoming weekend, especially those who will be heading home to family, to memories, to the old places that still live within them. Protect those who are far from home and bring healing to those still seeking to find their place in the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, June 26th Mark 1:16-20

June 26, 2009

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea‑‑for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. Mark 1:16-20

Friends share our life journey.

I don’t think it is an accident that the first thing Jesus did upon beginning his earthly ministry was to collect a few good friends. The disciples, Jesus’ friends, gave Jesus companionship, protection and encouragement. And, when the time came, with their memories of Jesus in their hearts, they carried on the work of their friend.

Have you ever thought much about the daily life of Jesus? There are bits and pieces in the New Testament, but certainly what is recorded is only a tiny piece of his actual life Except for a couple of shortcuts on a boat, or the time he hitched a ride on a donkey, he walked everywhere he went. What do you do when you walk everywhere? When you walk alone, you think or sing. When you walk with friends you talk, laugh, argue, dream. It’s much more fun to walk with friends.

Jesus didn’t have McDonald’s. He ate fruit, nuts, bread – and when there was time and something to throw on the grill – he ate meat cooked over an open fire. That took time – to catch dinner, to gather something to burn, to start a fire. It’s work by yourself, but fun with friends.

Those nights when he was between towns, with no Motel 6, he slept under the stars. Have you ever done that? I have. It’s spooky. The worries are the same today as then, wild animals or robbers. It’s safer to do it with friends.

When I left the seminary, I specifically asked for an opportunity to be an associate pastor. I didn’t have the confidence or ability to be a solo pastor. I needed someone else, a mentor, a coach, a friend. When Jesus sent the disciples out on their own missionary journey, he sent them out two by two. For the same reasons – it was safer, they could encourage and protect one another, and they could hold one another accountable. Life is always better with a friend walking by your side.

Friendship is truly a gift from God. If Jesus needed a few good friends to share his life journey, how much more do we? As we said at the beginning of the week, while it is harder work now to find and maintain friendships, some things in life are worth the work.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, when we imagine the days of your life we see scenes of you and your friends walking down a dusty path. We see you at dinner, surrounded by people, all listening to your stories, laughing and enjoying themselves. We know you valued friendship. You even called your disciples your friends. We thank you today for those people in our lives who are more than acquaintances but are true friends. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thursday, June 25th. Mark 8:31-33

June 25, 2009

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Mark 8:31-33

Friends challenge us. They know us well enough, and trust us enough, to tell us what we need to hear, even if it isn’t what we want to hear.

Peter thought he was saying the right thing when he spoke out against Jesus’ prediction of his suffering and death. He thought he was defending his friend. But in fact, he was doing just the opposite because, if he did defend Jesus’ life, it would come at the cost of the meaning of Jesus’ life. So Jesus didn’t let the comment pass. He challenged Peter. He spoke harshly to him. It had to hurt. But Peter needed to hear it.

Few people like to hear themselves criticized. We don’t like to hear that we’re wrong, that we made bad choices, that we are misguided or misdirected. Yet, we often are. When our friends care enough about us to really want what is best for us in life, they will hold us accountable, they will challenge us.

I remember a time when I shared something very personal with a friend of mine. I thought I was doing so in order to get a little encouragement. Maybe a little solace. But he quickly saw through me and realized that I was heading down a pretty rotten road. He didn’t let me off the hook. He confronted me and challenged me to do better. It hurt but it was an important step toward healing.

I remember a time when I wrote a really nasty letter to someone. He, my friend, sent the letter back to me and challenged some of the things I had said. That too hurt but it was important for me to hear.

Friends who don’t confront us when we need it are not real friends. Friends who don’t challenge us to be the best people we can be are not real friends. Friends who console and comfort us when what we really need is a reality check are not real friends.

No one likes to hurt someone else’s feelings. But guess what? Few people have died from hurt feelings! There are often far worse consequences to the choices people make than a few hurt feelings. Jesus no doubt hurt Peter’s feelings that day – and Peter probably never forgot it – but Jesus only did it so that Peter could realize a deeper truth, and become the Peter God needed him to be.


Let us pray: Dear Jesus, we know there is a big difference between being harmful and being helpful. Yet there are times when being helpful feels an awful lot like being harmful. Free us to speak with frankness and honesty to our friends when we believe they need to hear us. And free us to truly listen to our friends when they challenge us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday, June 24th. Luke 1:39-47

June 24, 2009

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… Luke 1:39-47

Friends help us celebrate life!

I remember when we first discovered that we were going to have our first baby. We had been married three years, the time seemed right, and we were ready to have a child. It was such a complete overwhelming joy to hear those words, “You’re going to have a baby!” What did we do?

We started calling our family and friends. We couldn’t wait to share the news. And whoever we told always affirmed us in our joy. Just as Job’s pain was halved by the presence of his friends, our joy was doubled by the mutual celebration we shared with our friends.

We always hear on Christmas Eve that Mary was afraid when the angel showed up to deliver the news. Of course she was afraid! But very quickly, that fear gave way to joy. “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” is nothing but a pure celebration of joy. Elizabeth made that joy complete by sharing it with Mary.

It’s hard to imagine any joy in life that isn’t accentuated by the possibility of sharing it with our friends. I remember skipping elementary school as a child. (I was a little bugger.) I would pretend to go to school, hide and wait for Mom to drive off, and then let myself back into the house. Those were horrible days. Why? Because I had to spend them alone. Summer days weren’t all that fun either when I didn’t have friends around to play with. Friends help us celebrate life!

It’s no coincidence that one of the images that Jesus uses for heaven is a wedding banquet. A party! A time to celebrate in the company of friends and family. The wedding is for the couple but the party is for everyone else! Its a time of fun, joy and play. For some reason that image – celebrating with friends – sure beats the heck out of sitting around on clouds…


Let us pray: Heavenly Father, joy is such a wonderful feeling…and it feels even better when we have a few close friends with whom we can share it. Friends help us smile and laugh, we tell stories of shared experiences, we enjoy being together. Thank you for the gift of friendship. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, June 23rd. Job 2:11-13

June 23, 2009

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home‑‑Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job 2:11-13

Friends comfort us when we’re hurting. It hardly seems necessary to mention that – it seems like a no-brainer – but it is fact one of the greatest blessings of friendship.

Job, caught up in this little game between Satan and the Lord, had lost everything. His children had died. His wealth had been stolen. His health was gone. He had been reduced to sitting in ashes, scraping the sores on his body. But he still had some friends. True friends. The kind that show up when you’re hurting.

Sometimes it is a grandparent who is the first to open your eyes to what disease can do to somebody. And sometimes it is a friend. But anyone who has been around awhile has probably experienced being in the presence of someone who has been reduced to a shadow of their former selves. It is heart wrenching. Yet Job’s three friends still showed up and they even stayed awhile.

As a matter of fact, for seven days and nights they modeled all that a friend really needs to do in the midst of suffering. They were there. They wept. They grieved. They allowed Job to experience his suffering while joining him through the power of their empathic love. That is all friends, real friends, really need to do.

They don’t have to say something. They certainly don’t have to say the exact right thing. They don’t have to fix the problem. They don’t have to give advice. They don’t have to share stories about their cousin who went through the same thing. They just need to be there and by virtue of their presence, they communicate a reality that words can’t touch. At least words can’t touch in that situation.

Eventually though they blew it. They couldn’t help themselves. Friends aren’t perfect. Even though their various opinions on the matter only made matters worse for Job, they only had the best of intentions.


We can learn something from those three friends. Something about giving to our friends what they really need – not answers or advice or sympathy, but presence, understanding and empathy. Nothing is worse than suffering alone – thank God for the gift of friendship to help us through the hard times of life.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, sometimes life turns on us and we find ourselves hurting. It is so hard to hurt alone, to suffer in silence, to feel cut off. Thank you for the power of friendship to bring us comfort and hope. Be with us, that we might be a friend indeed to others in our lives by being there for them when they need us. And encourage us, when we find ourselves suffering in silence, to reach out to our friends and receive the gifts you have there for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, June 22nd 1 Samuel 18:1-4

June 22, 2009

When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 1 Samuel 18:1-4

For many and various reasons, we are hungry for meaningful relationships these days.

There was a day when our friends consisted of the kids up and down the block. We just ended up together and when we went out to play, they were there. They became our friends. We shared play, dinner at each other’s houses, even went on family vacations as a hired gun to keep their kids occupied. Then we headed off to school.

Friendships were reasonably easy in school too. There were kids all around. It was easy to identify others with similar interests. Sometimes we discovered that childhood friends were left behind as we discovered new interests and Abranched out@ into the real world of high school.

But eventually, it really was time to leave Never Never Land and it became harder and harder to create and sustain friendships. We don’t live near those with whom we work. We don’t play outside of our houses. We’ve traveled far from home. Surrounded by others, we feel more lonely than ever. Unless we have some friends.

We don’t need dozens of friends. We just need a couple. A couple of good ones.

David was mightily blessed by God. He was handsome, successful, famous and powerful. He wasn’t perfect but God still blessed him. Even at the very beginning of David’s public life, God blessed him. Not with fame or money or power. First, God blessed David with friendship. He brought Jonathan into David’s life. Jonathan who immediately felt his soul bound to David’s soul. Jonathan who was literally willing to give the shirt off his back to David.

More than once, in the time to come, Jonathan would save David’s life. More than once, Jonathan would go out on a limb for David. Throughout Jonathan’s all too brief life, there doesn’t seem to have been a minute that David doubted his friendship, his respect, his love.

I hope that you, in this lonely world, have at least one Jonathan. And that you are Jonathan to at least one other person. Such friendships are truly a blessing from God.


Let us pray: Heavenly Father, friendship is one of your greatest gifts. That we can love and be loved with no strings to attach us teaches us something about the meaning of life, and gives us a glimpse of who we are at our best. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Friday, June 19th 2 Corinthians 6:3-13

June 19, 2009

We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.  We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.  2 Corinthians 6:3-13

 

Sometimes it is helpful, when reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, to remember what we know of his time there.

 

Acts 18 tells us that Paul went to Corinth and began teaching in the synagogue there.  That arrangement didn’t last long, due to the heated opposition he was receiving, Paul moved next door to a home where he continued to teach.  Paul stayed there for 1½ years before moving on.  He left behind a strong Christian community that included Crispus, the leader of the synagogue next door.

 

Any person who has come to faith under the leadership of a good pastor, or any pastor who has laid his/her heart on the line in trying to build a Christian congregation can relate to the passion and the pathos of Paul’s time in Corinth.  This wasn’t about a person attending a church because it was “just the thing to do” nor was it about a pastor who considered him/herself a religious professional getting paid to do a job. 

 

And so it was, on down the road, that Paul heard that the church in Corinth was divided and falling apart.  The two letters he wrote (scholars think there was at least one more that wasn’t preserved) were attempts to get the congregation back on track.  They also include passages like today’s reading where Paul is reminding his friends of all that he went through in order to be among them, teaching and modeling the grace of God.  He suffered mightily.

 

There are two messages cloaked in Paul’s list of sufferings.  First, there is the reminder that Paul was willing to do whatever it took, suffer whatever would come his way, because of his passion for the good news of God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit who guided and empowered him.  Paul understood that he had been bought with a price and thus was willing to pay any price to reach new believers.

 

And second, there is a subtle message to the Corinthians (and to us) that we are seriously misguided if we think that the Christian faith is a path to a safe and secure life of leisure and success.  Although we bear witness that life with Christ is better than life without, what that really means is that life is more authentic, more real, more meaningful.  We ought not be surprised when following Jesus gets difficult, when we find opposition, when we suffer along the way.

 

The Church will always find ways to be disappointing.  Division is just one decision away.  Broken people living in community consciously or unconsciously bring brokenness.  But none of that will stop the forward progress of the faith.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, we have often been disappointed in our faith journey, just as we have often been disappointments to you or others.  Protect us from discouragement and division.  Keep us strong in the face of opposition and hardship.  And work in us to promote the unity of the faithful even as we seek to spread the faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Thursday, June 18th. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

June 18, 2009

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,  “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”  See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!  2 Corinthians 6:1-2

 

What would it mean to accept the grace of God in vain?  Maybe this hinges on what we mean by the word “accept.”

 

For a long time a great debate has raged, sometimes loudly and sometimes muted in the background, about the role that we play in accepting the grace of God.  Some teach that God’s grace comes to us via the power of the Holy Spirit working through the means of grace – the Word and the sacraments.  We receive that grace through faith in Jesus.  We are grafted into the faith in our baptism and then live that faith for the rest of our lives.  Grace is the given gift.

 

Others teach that we play a more active role.  The Holy Spirit holds the grace of God in front of us like an offer – we receive that grace only as we actively accept it.  We might pray a prayer acknowledging our sin and need for grace and then ask God to accept us as we are, that we might become a child of God.  Baptism then becomes a sign that we have “sealed the deal.”

 

Frankly, as boisterous as this debate has often been between “theology of the cross, we are but beggars” and “theology of glory, we received Jesus into our hearts and life is oh so much better” – both sides seek the same goal:  God’s creation of a new community of believers who follow Jesus and respond to God’s love through lives which seek to enjoy and grow the kingdom of God for the sake of the world.

 

The point is discipleship, not simply the right definition of key phrases.  The real key question is:  What difference does it make?

 

What difference does God’s grace make in your life?  What difference does it make in your attitudes, your belief system, your spirituality, your behaviors, your care of and for others, your willingness to speak up and work on behalf of others?

 

What difference does God’s grace make in how you use your time, what you do in the world, how you spend your money, how you treat other people?

 

What if God’s grace doesn’t make any discernible difference in your life whatsoever?

 

Remember the audience to whom Paul is writing – he is writing to a Christian community of believers who have gotten off track.  They are not thinking or behaving in ways that would correspond to an active healthy faith.  So his words are a challenge to them – and to us.

 

Regardless of how we came into the faith, the question for today is how is the faith working in, and out of, us?  If we have gotten off track, there is no better time than right now to surrender again to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, to return to the Source, to, as Luther would say, die and rise again in the waters of our baptism.

 

Now IS the day of salvation.  Now IS the acceptable time.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, we confess our selfishness, self-centeredness, pride and all that would render your grace vain in our lives.  Forgive us, restore us and lead us, to your glory and the welfare of your people.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 17th, Mark 4:35-41

June 17, 2009

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  Mark 4:35-41

 

“Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?”

 

Let’s be fair.  These aren’t really questions in the normal sense.  In that setting, the calm after the storm having just settled in, Jesus wasn’t really looking for a philosophical conversation about the nature of human emotions or the theological conclusions reached thus far by his boat mates.

 

They were afraid because they thought they were going to capsize in the night, drown, and float to shore like dead fish in the morning.  In their fear, in the face of the winds and the lashing rain, faith was the last thing on their minds.  They weren’t really thinking at all, just reacting to the storm.

 

Fear can do that to you.  When you are afraid, you don’t think clearly.  As a child, a squeak in the night fills your bedroom with monsters.  That isn’t about logic, it is a reaction.  As an adult, one night’s worth of the evening news is all it takes to shake the foundations of your world and replace security with insecurity. Who can count all that has the power to make us afraid?

 

As for faith…it isn’t like we have a “faith meter” somewhere inside us where we can check our “faith level” like we can check our blood pressure or temperature.  I’ve had people tell me that their faith never wavers, they never question it, it is always a powerful force within them.  But for most people, especially in the darkness of a worrisome night, faith is the last thing on their minds.

 

I understand faith to be a gift given by God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  It isn’t something I generate within myself.  But I do cooperate with God in that the basic faith practices of prayer, reading scripture, worship, fellowship, and service all reinforce, deepen and broaden my faith.  There is a “feeling” component of faith but there is also a knowledge base about faith and a commitment to trust/act on my faith.

 

And there are times, in the heat of the moment, when it is like faith kicks into high gear and I feel sustained by a power greater than myself.  In many ways, it is the calm times of life when faith suddenly gets relegated to “optional.”  Faith truly is a journey.  A shared journey.

 

For this isn’t a story about a group of men figuring out how to handle their fears in the midst of a storm.  It is instead a demonstration of the power of God to bring calm to a storm, despite our fears and the faithlessness.  Whether asleep or shouting the waves to peacefulness, Jesus never leaves the boat.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, come to us in our fears and our anxieties.  The sea is so large and our boat is so small, but never too small for you.  May we ever trust you, your care and your keeping, though the oceans of our lives be fierce or calm.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.