A Message from Pastor Sean – “Peace! Be Still!”
March 18, 2020
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Jesus asks this of his disciples after he was awaken from his rest during a storm while crossing the lake. It may feel as if you are caught in the raging windstorm that we know as the COVID 19 virus as you try to stay calm and navigate your way through the waves of the unknown. But just as Jesus commanded the sea to be still and the wind ceased and all became calm, this too shall pass and once again calm will be restored and our “normalcy” will return, so do not be afraid and have faith in God.
Having faith does not mean however, that there will not be rough waters that will have to be navigated. In fact, we are in the midst of the storm and the waves very likely may get stronger and higher before they subside, but beneath the surface, below the rough waves, the water is calm. Have you ever been in the ocean at the beach and a wave is approaching? If you stand there, the wave will crash over you and send you tumbling topsy turvy as you try to make your way back to the surface and catch your breath. But if, as the wave is approaching, you dive under the wave, you find that the wave washes over top of you and in fact, the water under the wave is calm. As we are all urged (commanded) to practice social distancing and to stay in our homes, I think of that analogy. The COVID 19 virus is like a wave that is crashing over us, but we can dive under that wave by staying in the relative safety and calmness of our homes (I know some of you have children at home so it is not so calm – but you get the idea). It is in the calmness, away from the crashing waves, that Jesus offers us stillness and peace.
I urge you to take some time each day while you are home to engage in a spiritual practice or two that will help to bring you stillness and peace. Turn off the news and read some scripture or inspirational literature, pray, meditate, get outside and enjoy the fresh air, immerse yourself in the beauty of God’s creation, sing, listen to music – do whatever it is that brings you “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.”
At the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus leaves us with these words – “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
May God’s peace and blessings be with you all,