The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

Last week we heard Jesus’ parable of the seed and the grower. We spoke about God’s imperative, that is the thing He has made vitally important and crucial and that He authoritatively commands, i.e., that we grow. We have work to do in this green season. Growth in our likeness to God and in His Kingdom is dependent on us. The seed planted in us must yield fruit.

Today we encounter one of those moments in the disciples’ journey with Jesus that has a lot packed into it. There is of course the display of Jesus’ power and authority over all creation – a teaching moment for the disciples. We see Jesus demonstrating His care for those He loves. There are themes of trust and faith. There is a recalling of the Ark tossed about in the storm, but now with God fully present and buoying the ship. It is no longer the Ark of Noah, but that of God in which we are all contained.

St. Paul goes further to remind us that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus and the way we regard, i.e., how we view and treat each other must be changed. Our way of life together is no longer about what one can do for the other, what one has, or how one looks, but completely about our likenesses to Jesus. We are all in the Ark of God, thus the way we view and treat each other reflects the way we view and treat Jesus.

This event in the boat, or the new Ark, is not a one-off isolated thing. It literally follows what we heard last week, where we ended on Mark 4:34. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. Mark 4:35 began, as we just heard, On that day

Jesus went right from a long discourse about discipleship, being light to the world, and growth to this nighttime journey.

We all have nighttime journeys, maybe in the past, now, or in the future. Let us ask God today for clarity when we encounter those journeys. Let us not just stop at ‘help me Jesus,’ but search deeper.

In my nighttime journeys do I perceive Jesus calmly at rest in the midst of it and from that gain confidence? We should. We should also recognize His power to overcome for us, not just ‘get us out of it,’ but to conquer. 

The storm is a call to growth in more than our own faith and trust, but also in our perception of the Ark we are in and who we are with. Growth requires our vision change. 

Stand up.

“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.”

The Lord is passing by, stand up, get ready.

As a youth, I loved the anticipation visits from family held. We had family in Hamtramck, Miami, and parts of Delaware. We also had loads of family locally in Buffalo. 

We were fortunate to have my grandmother, my Busia, living with us. She and my aunt moved in with us after my dad died. Beside just having Busia in the house, we were blessed to have in her a wonderful, from scratch cook, and someone who could garden better than anyone I have ever met.

With Busia in the house, our home became a required stop for family. Her seven surviving children (three died during the epidemics of the late nineteen-teens and early nineteen-twenties) and their children came to visit their mom and spend time.

Anticipation was always present because you never knew who would stop by, or even when. I remember a car pulling up with relatives from Hamtramck one night at about 9pm. No cell phones then, no way to text. People just came by. Hi, where are we staying? We weren’t ready!

Elijah at least knew the Lord would be passing by. The Lord gave him that message. Elijah looked and looked, exploring every event to see if it was the Lord. Like a child standing at a window, anticipating a visit, so Elijah waited at the mouth of the cave. Finally, he experienced the Lord’s presence in the most unexpected of ways, in a whisper.

The disciples in the boat did not even know the Lord was on the way. Suddenly, like relatives from Hamtramck, there He was. Sometime between 3 and 6am, Jesus came toward them. Where am I going to stay?

Yes, Jesus is passing by. We have the opportunity to enjoy His all-abiding presence. He desires to reside with us, to stay, and we miss out if we are not anticipating, if we are not standing up, waiting at the window. We miss out and sink if we take our eyes off the possibilities of Jesus’ presence.

Faith calls us to live in eager anticipation. We do that by regular focused prayer, biblical reading, Sunday worship, and contemplation of His dwelling with us. The Lord is passing by, stand up, get ready. He is right outside our window saying, ‘Where will I stay?’ It is time to invite Him in to stay. He will, and He will calm the storms, give the reassurance we so need, and save us from the troublesome depths.

The storm has
no power.

A violent windstorm came up. The waves were breaking into the boat so that it was quickly filling up. But he was sleeping on a cushion in the back of the boat. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to die?” Then he got up, ordered the wind to stop, and said to the sea, “Be still, absolutely still!” The wind stopped blowing, and the sea became very calm.

What glory we have in the Lord, what marvelous love and power reign over us. Storms never win.

Today we celebrate two very special occasions. Our young brother Traviss is receiving his First Holy Communion. Our brother and sister, Larry and Donna, are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. The Lord is His infinite goodness and wisdom has given us supporting scriptures and a Gospel reading that so speaks to these two events.

These events mark the way God lives with us. They witness to what God will do for Traviss – going forward, had done and will do for Larry and Donna – past and future, and is doing for us each moment of our lives. The power of God is displayed here today. His power protects us as it did Job in his struggles; as it did on the night of the storm. Storms never win. Jesus’ faithful people, living in Him, do.

Traviss – you will face challenges and will have drama in your life. We all have – and you know what? We win, because of our faith in Jesus, because of His awesome power and love for us. Remain faithful, just like Job did in the middle of all his troubles. As you start in your deeper relationship with Jesus, as you become more and more like Him, stand and be brave, because Jesus has you. That’s what God said to Job – you don’t get it man. I created everything and have total power. Don’t be afraid or question, just trust. The storm won’t win.

Larry and Donna – you’ve stood strong against the storm in your love for each other and your trust in the Lord. Fifty years ago you invited Jesus to stand at your side. You learned from Jesus’ question to His disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith yet?” You said – Jesus won’t be asking that of us. You are proof that with God love wins. The storm never wins.

Jesus chilled out in the boat because He knew the storm wouldn’t win. We have examples before us of the glory and victory that is ours. Each of us, no matter the storm, is in God’s loving care. Standing faithful – joined to Jesus the storm never wins.