Calm – 6-20-24

You can listen to this reflection here.

Sometimes it seems like God can take an awfully long time to swing into action. Maybe that’s because things that seem insurmountable to us are just a matter of a word for God, and what strikes us as nail-bitingly late is right on time for the Creator of the universe.

In this week’s gospel story, when the disciples find themselves imperiled in a sudden squall on the Sea of Galilee, and they discover Jesus in the stern, blithely sleeping through all the excitement, they wake him up, saying, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ Jesus does not get up and join the hysteria. He just calmly exercises his authority over creation:  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.

One word from Jesus, and it all died down. No more wind, no more waves, no more panicked heartbeats. In fact, we’re told, there was a dead calm. It went not back to normal, but to a complete calm. Jesus did not have to pray in a dramatic fashion, whip up a frenzy of faith, plead with the heavens – he just calmly spoke peace to the elements, and his word had the power to calm, to make things so still it could only have been by his action – Jesus doesn’t do things by halves.

But why did he wait so long? Well – was it so long? Didn’t Jesus act as soon as he was asked? The better question might be, why did the disciples take so long to ask for help? Why do we so often get ourselves into a state, deep into a difficult situation before we think to ask Jesus for help?

Reading the news can put me into spasms of anxiety and outright fear. Each time I remember to invite Christ’s peace to fill me and overwhelm the fear; every time I invoke the perfect love that casts out fear, I come into calm. Sometimes I remind another to do that, and others remind me, and pray for me. Christian community is a wonderful gift that way.

Peacefulness and calm are markers of God-Life. Not that the Spirit is some kind of spiritual Prozac, evening everything out – Jesus certainly displayed emotions like righteous anger, grief, praise. But storminess is not the way of God. A Lord who can rebuke the wind and command the sea is a Lord who can still our spirits, as we ask, and as we allow.
Maybe the reason it sometimes takes us so long to feel his peace is because our spirits, with all their freedom, are not yet as responsive to Jesus’ command as are the winds and waves.

© Kate Heichler, 2024. To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereHere are the bible readings for next Sunday. Water Daily is also a podcast – subscribe to it here on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform.

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