Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
And to learn trust, faith.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice in the midst of trouble.
Help me to follow you in all of life,
To walk in the joy and freedom of the resurrection,
Indwelt and led by your Pentecost Spirit.
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Week 7 (in ordinary time)
It has been a long day. Such a huge crowd gathered on the shore of the lake at Capernaum, that Jesus decided to get into a boat moored at the edge of the water, and to speak to the people from there. He casts a net of parables out on the sea of rapt attention as he speaks, one of them about seeds and soils. Later, when alone with his close followers he explains the mystery contained in these stories about seeds and soils, lamps and baskets, mustards seeds which become trees, and the hidden work of God in nurturing the seeds of the kingdom into life and fruitfulness.
Tired, and in need of rest and solitude, he says, “Let us go across to the other side.” Leaving the crowd on the beach, these fishermen turned followers-of-Jesus begin to row out onto the lake. The late afternoon sun is dropping behind the horizon, and an evening breeze accompanies the rhythm of their oars. Tired after the holy work of the day, Jesus falls asleep in a pillow in the stern.
But as he sleeps, the breeze grows stronger, and suddenly becomes a storm of wind, stirring up the surface of the lake, and tossing great waves of water into the boats. Fearful of the power of the storm , and afraid they will drown, the disciples wake Jesus up: “Teacher, do you not care that we are about to drown?” they yell above the roar of the wind.
Jesus’ response is not out of fear. With calm and authority he rebukes the wind, and then to the turbulent waves he says, “Peace! Be Still!” The wind and the waves, hearing the voice of their Creator and Master, become still, and there is a dead calm.
But rather than turning now to the disciples and asking them how they feel, he poses other questions: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
This week, the lectionary guide takes us into one stormy situation after another within the Hebrew and New Testament readings. As we enter into these turbulent narratives, and listen carefully to Paul’s letter to the believers at Corinth (about how the servants of God suffer beatings, imprisonments, riots, sleepless nights, hunger, and other afflictions), we are invited to pay attention to how we see fear and how we see faith. How does fear show itself? And how does faith show itself? What kind of trust do we meet as we spend time with these early followers of God/Jesus?
Maybe our lives are caught in the high waves of storm – and it seems that Jesus is asleep in the boat and does not pay much attention to our plight. Our prayer may erupt like the disciples or the psalmist – lamenting and complaining to God about our plight, and demanding to know why God is not about to save us from going under. Or we might find our responses more like David’s as he encounters the giant, trusting Jahweh to be his help. Paul’s testimony may give us clues as to what we need. Maybe Jesus’ questions move to a deep place within us, and invite us to ponder why we are so afraid.
As your indwell the narratives, listen to the letters and as you pray the psalm, allow yourself to be drawn finally into the place of trust in the One in whose presence all that troubles us lays down and becomes quiet. And then listen for his guidance for you at this time.
Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us
In the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Help me to be aware of how you come,
To be hospitable to your help,
And to your leading in the way of Jesus.
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Week 7 in ordinary time
- 6/18 Monday: Mark 4:35-41
- 6/19 Tuesday: Mark 4:35-41
- 6/20 Wednesday: Psalm 9:9-20
- 6/21 Thursday: 1 Samuel 17:57 – 18:5,10-16
- 6/22 Friday: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
- 6/23 Saturday: Mark 4:35-41
- 6/24 Sunday: Mark 4:35-41