the one about getting to the other side...
June 25, 2018, 8:00 AM

Sermon from June 24, 2018

Text: Mark 4:35-41

Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and our Lord and savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

So, who here feels at times that they are in the midst of a storm? We can see it all whirling around us – political anxiety, confusion and fear of what is true and what is false, many of us are realizing we aren’t capable of certain things we like we used to be, the world is changing, some of us are dealing with personal crises, all of us – in some way or another is dealing with a storm of sorts.

For some those storms seem never ending, gale force winds with 100-foot tidal walls slamming into our little and creaky boat. Where the next wave to crash just might be the one to ‘do us in.’ Turn us over, and we’ll finally succumb.

I think we saw that at work within our country these last two weeks in the saga concerning how immigrants and children were being dealt with and mishandled by our government. No matter how you believe immigration should be handled in our country (and there are a myriad of different views) – that was not the correct way.

For many, that was and continues to be a major storm and the same cry that the disciples screamed from their lips to Jesus is the same that is uttered from many today, “Do you care about us or not Jesus?” Are you sleeping on the job? 

I think in those moments we are a bit confused by how God acts in the world. Where we seek and desire the quick and simple fix to whatever storm rages in our world. We pray, we cry out to God, our nerves are frayed and on edge, we feel like we’re screaming for dear life, yet it is as if God is just taking a nap.

And that just upsets us more.

I’ve always been intrigued by this story from Mark’s gospel, and there is something I find rather interesting. The disciples are comfortable with the fact that they are doing something new and different. They have faith enough in Jesus to venture outside their cultural comforts, to go to the other side of the sea to bring what Jesus is proclaiming – God’s word of love, mercy, and forgiveness – to a people who have been told are not a part of God’s love.

They have faith enough to travel to the other side with Jesus in this new ministry opportunity, but it seems that their faith is not yet mature enough to realize the fullness of who he is.

Sure, he has the power to calm the storm (he demonstrates that pretty matter of factly), but perhaps he isn’t here to calm every storm. To quell every whirlwind that rises up. What if Jesus isn’t about the easy and quick answer? What if Jesus isn’t about making life smooth and struggle free?

What if Jesus – intentionally – invites us into this boat of ministry knowing full well that things won’t be smooth. What if Jesus knows that storms will rise? What if Jesus knows things might look pretty bad? What if Jesus knows all that?

What does it mean for Jesus to know all that – and still invite us into the boat? What if Jesus cares about what he’s proclaiming so much and wants us to be a part of it – that he invites us into this proclamation and life knowing full well that it won’t be easy, but in fact it’ll be riddled with storms, and anger, and anxiety?

What if Jesus knows that the Word he proclaims – the Gospel truth he invites and commands us to share – is that disruptive to the world that people will do almost anything to stamp out that hope that God gives through this word? What if Jesus knows that others will use his words and the holy words of scripture to prop up actions that don’t jive with what he intends and how he lives?

What if Jesus knows all of that and still invites us in the boat?

What if Jesus knows all that and still sleeps?

Now, one way to take that is that Jesus is foolish and doesn’t understand how the world works. Thinking that he’s naïve and a little flighty (and believe me, he’s been called that and worse).

But, I don’t think Jesus feels that way, he’s the one that knows. And he’s the one that can calm the storms. But, I don’t think that’s his goal – to calm all the storms in our lives (though within the storm that might be the one thing we want). Instead, Jesus’ goal is to get to the other side so that others might hear this word and truth. This gospel and love about and for and with them.

To invite us and bring us to that truth as well. To proclaim this Gospel truth to all who can hear. To serve with and for those whom others have cast off and put aside. Jesus invites us to hear and experience that life too.

In everything that we read this morning from Job to Mark – it is as if God is saying – as if Jesus is saying – “Trust me.”

Seriously. Trust Jesus.

Does that mean we should lay down and rest in the midst of the storm? Yes. Yes, it does. To a point. There’s a saying that many of us know that I think can keep us from actually doing anything, “Just let go and let God…” Don’t worry about anything, just let God handle it.

I don’t think that is what Jesus is implying at all. Not one bit. Living life fully into that worn out saying can keep us from even encountering the storms. It’s sayings like that which can keep us from getting into the boat in the first place. Just let Jesus do his thing. It has nothing to do with me.

Yet, Jesus is the one who calls us into the boat just as he welcomed the disciples into the boat to get to those who had not yet heard of God’s love and mercy. Jesus calls us into moments and opportunities that will lead to storms. It’s going to happen.

The storms will rise up. Yet our Lord calls us to trust that he is there. Inviting us to rest in his protective arms as a child might rest in their parents embrace.

Throughout the season of Lent, we sang a song at our Wednesday evening services that speak to my soul and remind me of this gospel and how we see God at work in the world today…

Though the earth shall change, though the mountains tremble, though the waters rage, you, God, are here.

Though the nations war, though the peoples battle, though the empire falters, we will not fear.

Jesus is bringing us to the other side. We are in the boat. Waters rage, mountains tremble. God is here.

Jesus isn’t the quick and easy fix, Jesus is the one standing with us, inviting us, pulling us, to proclaim this word that cuts through the darkness and brings light to the world. A light that never goes out and brings hope to the night.

A word and light that welcomes all, that is strong in the face of worldly power, that brings life to those whom life has been wrenched away.

Jesus isn’t ‘sleeping’ on the job, we’re still on our way to the other side. Rest and know and trust that he is here. He’s invited us, he’s welcomed you into this ministry of love and proclamation. It won’t be easy, there is still more to come, but Jesus is here. Amen.

Contents © 2020 The Lutheran Church of The Redeemer • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy