So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. [NRSV]
I love this passage, but it is so much more powerful remembering the setting and context of the storm on the sea.
On the Tail of Miraculous Blessing: 12 Baskets for 12 Disciples
- Think of the times that God has blessed us in the past.
- Remembering the witnesses of our past and others.
- Keeping our current storm in the context of where God has guided us before.
- If we look only at the storm in the present, we see only the fear, grief and lack of control.
Life in the Storm: What are our current storms?
- Marriage and Divorce
- That is a good starting list..
This is why we start with the context of where God has been revealed in the past.
Time to make a list of 12 examples where God has blessed, loved, forgiven, showed-up in our lives:
- God showed up in the backyard of a house church in Monterrey, Mexico and called me to preach.
- God showed up in the worship service and fellowship at Camp Glisson in the rock chapel.
- God showed up to surround me in love through my father and grandmothers and a dozen churches.
- God showed up to broaden my heart and mind in seminary study and worship.
- God showed in the lives of children in Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, Moscow
- God shows up nudging me to pray, call, contact within two hours
- God showed in ideas that I think are my own but God reveals them to you and when you share them, I am confirmed.
- God shows us when someone is looking for God to speak and I have nothing to say and God’s words come rolling out.
- God shows us to convict, cleanse and correct when I have messed up.
- God shows up when I pray asking for direction
- God shows up when I put myself in a place of listening and reflection
- God shows up when I lay aside my mind and worries and come to worship and praise.
Making the a List as an act of preparing for my storms and your storms.
The disciples did not ask for faith lesson, they were tired, needed a retreat-vacation and the work interrupted,
and when much needed break was in order, they are overwhelmed by a life-threatening storm.
Jesus is in the storm with them.
When they invite Jesus in, the storm is over.
The Lesson: The sooner we invite Jesus in the boat, the less time fear leads our lives.
To go back to the list of fears:
- Politics: We can’t be ostriches, we must be involved leaders and prophets
- Racism: What builds our community and what divides us?
- Terrorism: We love the person but denounce the behavior
- Economic: Discern where our heart/faith clings fast?
- Marriage: Are we Godly, not only at the wedding, but throughout the relationship
- Divorce: Acknowledge marriage is sometime not repairable, but angry people are hurting all around
- Drugs: This is maybe the biggest storm that affects our families
- Grief: Loss of loved ones
- Death/End times: What is our part in the larger story? Where is our foundation? Where is our love in loss?
This is a time, as disciples, we need to encourage instead of judge, gossip and distance ourselves.
- Remember where God shows up, Reminds us we are never alone.
- Remember we are in this together and need each others support.
- Remember the storms are coming, but in Christ, we will make it through.
Angels announced: Be Not Afraid, God is here.
Emmanuel: God is with us!