From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

Today in our social time after the service, we got to talking about how and when we will reopen the church for worship in person. And while we have of course been thinking about this since way back on March 15, 2020, there are always new things that come up that were not even considered yet. This causes me some anxiety, and frankly makes the reopening a lot more difficult than closing it down to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I don’t want to open back up or worship in person again. I’m just worried that this transition into something that we’ve been waiting so long for won’t be as smooth as we might hope it would be.

And I think this comes from me just wanting it to be smooth. That I should be the pro at this and know exactly what to do and shouldn’t really be able to fail. But is failing (or at least not being a smooth as I think it should be) really that big a deal or am I blowing it all out of proportion? As in, I’m creating in my own head a problem that really isn’t there, and the thought of that problem is bogging me down, holding me back, and causing this stress in me that I’m not all that used to.

It’s like a storm within my head, and I just need someone to help me calm it. Oh wait…

Here are the readings for next week:
Job 38:1-11
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

The story of Jesus stilling the storm is a well known and beloved story from our bibles. It reminds us of how nothing is too great for God’s power and all we need is a little faith and we’ll be good. However, I wonder if there is a different slant we can take with this story, one that I didn’t even think about until today when I read all the readings together (especially that first one with God sort of giving Job a lecture on what’s what).

One thing that somehow caught my eye this time around is how embarrassing the disciples must have been when they were afraid for their lives. I mean, a storm is a storm and a storm on the water is pretty scary. But these guys were supposed to be fishermen. They made their living on the water. They should be pros at handling it. They shouldn’t be able to fail, let alone be afraid. But they are, and they even sound a little annoyed at Jesus for not caring.

But I don’t think Jesus doesn’t care. He just isn’t as worried as they are. Why not? I think because (unlike Job) he knows that the value and worth of a person isn’t determined by what happens to them. Getting hurt, not being as skilled as one wants, or suffering loss doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us. Being put in a situation (like say, the end of a pandemic) that we frankly aren’t trained for and not being able to come out of it unscathed doesn’t mean that God no longer loves us, hasn’t created us, and won’t be with us through this storm of life as God has promised to always.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to row our boats to safety when we are caught in a storm. It doesn’t mean that we can haphazardly live life without fear of consequences. It doesn’t even mean that we shouldn’t stress about things because everything will somehow be magically taken care of. But it does mean that we needn’t ever question our value and worth regardless of what is happening, our welcome into God’s kingdom regardless of what we’re feeling, and whether God cares about us or not regardless of what storms are rocking our boats.

Because God most definitely does care… so much that God also saves.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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