A Fresh Start, Week 3: When the Lead Breaks

Click here for the MP3 of this Sunday's Sermon.

From Ken: If you can imagine it, we had the entire congregation pretending to be a thunderstorm this morning to start the sermon. One section started snapping, the next section clapped lightly, the third section drummed on the pew in front and the final section clapped loudly. Rev. Stasko came forward then and told us, "Peace! Be Still." (BTW, it was a blast!) We all stopped and then I began...

Storms can be scary. Maybe you remember that some storms caused a lot of damage this year in Japan and even here in Georgia. We’ve had thunder storms all summer that have made us come inside from play, get out of the pool or come off Lake Lanier during a day of play. Just like you might be scared, we grown-ups also get scared about those same storms. In the story today, even the disciples, Jesus’ friends got scared in a storm. But Jesus showed them that just by a word, he could calm a storm. God will be with us in our storms too!

Read Mark 4:35-41 for the story of Jesus in the boat with the disciples.

The last thing we’d want to have happen is to have our pencil lead break in the middle of a test or forget the answer when called on in front of the class. As we grow up, times of lay offs and being passed over for promotion can easily paralize us. Like our toys, they don’t go away as we get older, they just get bigger and more expensive!

The storms that terrify us are sometimes those backed by wind and rain. Others however, are backed by the full force of our inner worries and anxieties. Jaws was released in theatres in 1975. I was four years old and even though I still went swimming, I was scared even in pools till I was at least 10 years old. After almost being swept into the Atlantic during a night dive in college, I learned there was more realistic things to be scared of.

The experience the disciples had with Jesus on the Sea of Gallillee points to a secret long forgotten. In the midst of storms, we feel God does not understand our situation. The problem, it seems, is that we don’t understand our situation! In his book, Shattered Dreams, Dr. Larry Crabb notes the likelihood that we have come to believe something about God which he has never promised in all of Scripture or in the history of the church - “to have a good time (pg 31).”

Like the disciples, we rush about doing our own things until we are overcome. It is then, we run to Jesus, to use Him to solve our problems. The storms, the difficulties of life in truth are the greatest blessings for it is here we can discover our true hope - a relationship with God. A relationship built on the truth of the Bible, the reality of experience, the foundation of tradition and the logic of reason.

The boat, from the beginning has long been a symbol of the Church. Over and over, the disciples of Jesus from Peter to Paul, found themselves on boats and in storms. The early church saw it as a symbol of how we journey together. That Jesus was asleep, is also significant for sleep in the Bible is a symbol of death. It is easy to think, because he is silent, that Jesus is dead and not Ressurected? But Professor Sharon Ringe makes this key truth: "Life and death are at stake in the storm, and Jesus holds the key to both."

Having faced my own storms of depression and cancer among other things and even shattered dreams in ministry, faith is a fact. Our faith isn't to be in a Jesus who calms the storm either. Our faith is in Jesus who made the world and who comes to be with us in the boat.

We are in the boat together. This is what Church is. If you are in need of the Church to support you, we’re here. Our Stephen Ministers are here to listen in the storms. Our Grief Recovery Groups are another way for the church to be the Church. Our mobile website and pew folders are ways for you to communicate today with Rev. Kathie Stasko.

We are in this boat together. With one another, and with Jesus. But today, as we face so many things, we need each other. Inspired by St. Patrick’s prayer, we’re going to pray for each other. Look to the person in front of you and turn and look behind you. Look to left and then to the right. As we pray together, pause and pray for those around you.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me (Pause),
Christ before me (Pause),
Christ to the right of me (Pause),
Christ to the left of me (Pause),
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Use this pray to pray for the jerk who just cut you off in traffic or the neighbor whose dog leaves you presents. Pray for your friends on the school bus. Where in this boat together and whatever the storm, Jesus is here with us so it is always a good time for a fresh start!


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