Friday 13 September 2013

GOD is with us, we are not alone

It doesn't seem like more than a few weeks ago that we were reading Luke's account of Jesus calling the first disciples.  They were fishermen who left behind their families, their boats and their lives on the sea to follow Jesus and navigate the more unpredictable waters of sharing Jesus with people.

Jesus mit den J√ľngern im Sturm - Waldemar Flaig (1932)
And here we are this week with the story of the disciples crossing that same sea when a storm comes up.  They have to wake Jesus, who's asleep in the back, because they are afraid.  Jesus calms the storm and asks them if they have no faith.  Their response is to be amazed and wonder “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”  (Luke 8:25)

So who then, I wonder, are these "disciples?"  They're experienced fishermen (who, by the way, weren't catching anything the day Jesus first met them - he sent them back out to "the deep water" for fish in Luke 5).  Really?  And they're that afraid of the storm?  They're "disciples" of Jesus who call on him to save them, but are then so amazed that he does that they wonder, "who is this?"  They've been following him for three chapters and he's done some pretty amazing stuff already.

Doesn't seem like Jesus picked well, does it?

But he picked very well, indeed.  He picked ordinary, imperfect, everyday people like you and me.  

We, along with the disciples, will see Jesus do some amazing, wondrous things.  We, along with the disciples will continue to learn about love and compassion and grace.  We, along with the disciples, will share that with others in how will live.

We, along with the disciples, might come to recognize the point of Jesus' question in the storm.  Even in the moments when it seems we are most afraid, we are not alone: God is with us always. 

I think Jesus calmed the storm not as a display of his miraculous power, but out of frustration that the disciples didn't believe that God would see them through this.  It isn't the stormy weather that needs to be calmed, but their fear.  Surely, we might think, experienced fishermen would remain calm and do what they knew could be done to pass through the storm.  But their fear was too great.

Our's is too, sometimes, and we call out to God, just as the disciples woke Jesus.  

God's peace is not the absence of conflict or storm, but faith that God is with us at all times, in all places.  That faith calms our fears, inspires our hearts and minds, and strengthens our hands.

Jesus will always be reminding us - and the disciples - of this.  Even as he left them for the last time.  "Remember," Jesus says, "I am with you always to the end of an age" (Matthew 28:20).