Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence
“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1
Confession: Almighty God, you love us, but we do not love you fully. You call, but we do not always listen. We often walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns. We often condone evil, hatred, warfare, and greed. God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that as you move toward us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:23-27
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Who doesn’t become afraid whenever the waves are spilling over into their boat? Who doesn’t feel some anxiety whenever the doctor gives them bad news? Who isn’t tempted to worry when they are struggling financially? Who doesn’t feel some bit of fear when trouble comes their way? It is the one who puts their faith and trust in God.
The Bible says there arose a ‘great tempest’ in the sea. The words used here indicate that it was a storm so severe that it actually shook the boat. Not even an experienced sailor like Simon Peter knew what to do and therefore, as far as the disciples were concerned, they were going to drown. Yet through it all, Jesus continued to sleep.
Mark’s gospel adds another layer to the story. “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV) First of all, the disciples could not understand ‘HOW’ Jesus could sleep through a storm like this. To put it in modern terms, a storm like this should have awakened the dead. Secondly, I’m sure that they also could not understand ‘WHY’ Jesus would sleep through a storm like this. Why didn’t He get up and do something to help them?
QUESTION #1 – ‘HOW COULD JESUS SLEEP THROUGH A STORM LIKE THIS?’
The wind was howling, the waves were crashing, and perhaps there was even thunder and lightning. How could anyone sleep through a storm like this? Jesus could sleep through the storm because He had complete confidence in His Father’s care. He knew that His Father loved Him and therefore, nothing would happen to Him unless His Father permitted it.
QUESTION #2 – ‘WHY WOULD JESUS SLEEP THROUGH A STORM LIKE THIS?’
The disciples could not understand how Jesus could sleep through a storm like this and why He wasn’t doing something to help them. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV) Their question wasn’t so much, “Do You have the power to calm the storm?” as it was, “Because You have the power, why aren’t You using it? Where are all the miracles now?”
I admit it, storms have a way of frightening me and, to be really honest, sometimes it doesn’t take a storm as severe as the disciples were experiencing to cause me to ask similar questions. Just a few drops of unexpected rain can arouse a bit of fear in me. The ‘what if’s’ start to creep into my mind and tempt me to worry. What if the storm gets worse? What if the waves come crashing into the boat? What if the boat takes on too much water? What if Jesus isn’t paying attention? What if I drown?
Consider how Jesus responded to the disciples’ question: “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” In other words, “Why are you not resting in My care even as I am resting in My Father’s care?”
Who doesn’t become fearful during a storm? It is those who have faith in the love and care of Jesus. It is those who believe that He is fully aware of their situation and that He will do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. It is those who remind themselves that He is in the boat with them and therefore, everything is under His control.
Today, help me to live, O God, with hospitality, service and patient, joyful endurance.
As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:
Faithful God Hear our Prayer.
For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.
For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.
For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.
For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.
Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.
Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence