Sunday 20th June 2021

An act of worship at home

20th June 2021


Loving Lord, we gather in community to open our being to you.

May we find a calm peacefulness that will carry us through the days ahead.

We are the sisters and brothers of all that is, cherishing the earth, embracing its life. Amen.

Reading          Mark 4:35-41

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 gale 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?’


“Even the wind and the sea obey him,” the awestruck disciples said to one another. Just minutes before, they had been in the most terrible storm of their lives. Out on the open sea, the storm had threatened to swamp the disciples and their boat. They were terrified. Beside themselves at the prospect of capsizing and drowning. They were bailing water, wrestling the wind-whipped sails, and hanging on for their lives.

And Jesus was fast asleep in the stern, his head quite possibly propped up on a cushion.

Finally, the disciples, in terror and exasperation, shout, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Jesus wakes and rebukes the wind and commands it to quiet down. “Quiet! Be still,” he says, but it almost comes across as though this is as much a rebuke of the disciples as it is of the wind.

It’s strange isn’t it, that sense of Jesus’ irritation with the disciples is very clear in his words to them – “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”.

We can be very like the disciples. We can want God to calm the wind and seas of the storms in our life. At times we too want to shout at God, “What’s the matter with you? Don’t you see I’m going through a really tough time? Don’t you see that I’m afraid? Don’t you hear my prayers? Wake up, God! Stop sleeping when I need you most!”

Like the disciples we may assume that the miracle was and will be in Jesus calming the storm. But it is very clear that Jesus only does that reluctantly. He doesn’t really seem to want to do anything.

In fact he really wants to go on sleeping!

He goes so far as to tell off his disciples for even asking for his help. He challenges them with why they have so little faith, actually he asks them why they have NO faith. It’s obvious that this storm-calming power isn’t the kind of power Jesus came to demonstrate. In fact, in a way, it is exactly the kind of power Jesus came to give up, to empty himself of. It is the same power that kept him hanging on a cross.

As I re-read this it seemed to me that this isn’t a story about Jesus controlling the weather, it is a story about how little the disciples believed that God was with them in the midst of the storm – or more precisely it is a story about the lack of faith they had that meant that even if he was with them that wasn’t enough.

And for us, today, it is perhaps a story about how little we may believe God to be with us in the midst of the overwhelming storms of life. It’s about how, deep down, maybe we don’t really believe that a God-with-us is actually enough. It’s about how what we really want is a God who is in control, who will step in and take away the storm that is frightening us so much.

I don’t really think the miracle in this story is about Jesus calming the storm and taking control.

The miracle in this story is that Jesus was there with the disciples in the water-logged and weather-beaten boat,

experiencing the same terrible storm, the same terrible waves, the same terrible danger. And what he seems to be teaching them and us is that that alone should have been, and should be still, enough.

God’s power isn’t expressed for us in the control of events or of people, but in God’s being in covenant and relationship with us. God’s power isn’t expressed in imposing the divine will or insisting on its own way but in journeying with us as we fumble around and make our way in the world. God’s power is not so much in miraculous interventions, but in inviting us to build a kingdom out of love, peace and justice and to build it together with God.

Thank be to God. Amen.

Hymn  StF 18 – Be still and know that I am God

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            Be still and know that I am God.

            Be still and know that I am God.

            Be still and know that I am God.

            I am the Lord who saves and heals.

            I am the Lord who saves and heals.

            I am the Lord who saves and heals.

            In you, O Lord, I put my trust.

            In you, O Lord, I put my trust.

            In you, O Lord, I put my trust.


Eternal God, this and every day, we bring our praise to you.
You open your heart to the world, for the world, with the world.
You breathed life into the world, set life in motion for love of the world.
You sent your Son and Holy Spirit. You bring meaning and purpose to our living.
You speak your word for us to hear and write it on our hearts. You are our God, we are your people.
Eternal God, we sing our praise to you, for ever and for ever and for ever. Amen.

We open our hearts to the needs of the world and cry with the tears of the sorrowful.
We mourn with the grieving souls of the world and feel their loss and share their pain.
We share our love with the lonely and loveless and feel the pulse of their life.
We offer our touch to the untouchable folk who are shunned by a passing throng.
We catch the whisper of the unspoken truths that burden the lives of so many.
We decipher the cries of a traumatised world for whom peace is an impossible dream.
Hear our prayers, Lord, and let us be the people you would have us be. 



Generous God, always giving,
yours is the example by which we seek to live our lives.
May we go in the power and assurance of the Holy Spirit,
in the example of Jesus, and in your love and with your blessing.


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