We’ve had plenty of storms in our household over the last few months. And I’m not talking about the weather. We have fallen out over Wi-Fi speeds and how one of us can’t get onto zoom because all the others are using the broadband. Or trying to get children out of bed before noon each day or having to ban Fortnite again after a lack of schoolwork has been completed.
Maybe it’s the pressure of being almost on top of each other 24 hours a day with no break. We as a family we are very used to doing our own thing and then coming back together at the end of that day. Now we’re in each other’s pockets almost all the time and it certainly creates storms.
And then there is the storm of emotions that we feel each day which can be raging away inside of us. Having to cope with the sadness of those who are unwell or passed away at this time or dealing with our own isolation and loneliness. All of these things, as well as other frustrations, could mean that we have an internal storm going on inside us.
It reminds me that Jesus and his disciples were caught in a storm once.
‘On that day, when evening had come, Jesus 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 Jesus 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?”’ (Mark 4: 35-41)
In these times it can feel as though a storm has arisen with the waves crashing ever wider across our world. We are reminded of the storm in the gospel story when Jesus and his disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee. (Mark 4: 35-41) What is the ‘storm’ that we are experiencing in the time of COVID-19? It is not just the virus itself; it is also the suffering of those who are ill or lonely, those who are fearful, those who do not know how they will earn their living or where their next meal will come from. It is the loss of our gatherings for worship. It is the intense pressure on health services, on the economy, on all our daily lives. Yet Jesus promised that he is always with us. We turn to him in prayer as we face the storm. And he called us to be the Body of Christ in our world today. Today Jesus is working through his people to calm the storm of COVID-19 – through our words and actions.
Let us pray.
God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart; bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty and anxiety. Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead. Bring them the courage to endure what cannot be avoided, For your will is health and wholeness. You are God, and we need you. Amen