Let us pray: Dear Savior, although we often forget that Your loving hand rests over us and let weariness with life, apathy, worry, and even fear get the better of us, nonetheless, Your goodness still shines through the gloom. Your love still seeks to warm our hearts and calm our fears. Today remind us to embrace You as You have embraced us. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE GOD FOR ALL SEASONS
TEXT: Mark 4: 35-41
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Have you ever seen the Bill Murray movie entitled: “Groundhog Day?” In it, the chief character, a T.V. reporter who is jaded with life, is forced to live and relive that exact same day over and over again until he learns something from it about his life and his attitude. Eventually he “gets it” and new horizons are opened to him.
St. Mark wrote on behalf of St. Peter. Peter was in the boat with the other disciples as they crossed the Sea of Galilee. This inland sea, 500 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, was a natural bowel. As a long-time fisherman on it, Peter was used to the violent storms that could occur at a moment’s notice. But, nothing prepared him for this storm! Matthew, who was also there, uses the Greek term “seismos” to describe it. (We get seismic from it today and it still means: violent agitation. Mark and Luke call it a “whirlwind” in the original language.) In any case, they found their stomachs in their throats and thought: “We’re all going to die!”
But then, they awake the sleeping Jesus Who calms the storm instantly with a few words. The Lord of man is also the Lord of nature. He’s the eternal Son of God Who controls everything. Their fears cease and they’re left to ponder: “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him?”
This lack of faith in God and God’s subsequent bailing them out of it is a theme repeated time and again in every Christian’s life—kind of like “Groundhog Day.” And it really begs the question:
WHO DO YOU RELY ON?—A “SEASONAL” GOD; OR A GOD FOR ALL SEASONS?
Sad to say, all of us are guilty at times of turning Christ into a “seasonal” God. Let me give you some examples.
Since its not Christmas or Easter, I’ll pick on those Christmas/ Easter Christians. You know—the folks who are too busy for God the other 363 days of the year. Too busy to honor Him. Too busy to make time for Him. Too busy to pray to Him. Too busy to praise Him. And then there are those for whom God just isn’t convenient—unless and until they find themselves in big trouble. You never see them or hear from them until a car accident occurs and they are in the hospital, or a death in the family happens, or their marriage is breaking apart, or their kids implode. Recently I made the statement: “If you cannot make time for God, why do you expect Him to make time for you?” And that statement shows just how self-absorbed most of us are. Then there are the “rabbit’s foot” Christians. It may sound trite, but they view Jesus as their rabbit’s foot. And they rub Him only if and when they cannot help themselves.
All of us have elements of these attitudes alive within us. We expect God to bless our work and families, but ignore daily devotions, prayer, His sacraments, and weekly worship—the very tools He uses to impart blessing. We say our faith is strong and the Bible is important. Yet, when the commandments hit a little too close to our consciences, we silence our conscience with human platitudes and rationalizations.
How would you react if your best friend did that to you? How would you react if they fit you into their schedule only when it was convenient and ignored you the rest of the time? Well, isn’t Jesus our Best Friend? Doesn’t our faith live 24/7 and not just occasionally or seasonally?
St. Paul said this in Romans 8: 22-23: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” We see both of those “groanings” occurring simultaneously in our lesson. The storm was a groaning of nature and the disciples’ fear was the groaning of their hearts. And what does Jesus do about it? He fixes both problems at the same time. He stills the storm and takes away their fear over sudden death by drowning.
Christ does this because He’s the Son of God. He’s the All-powerful Ruler of wind, waves, and souls. Just as He invested His life in them by being physically with them in that boat, so too, He has invested His life in each of us—for remember He lives! The resurrection happened!
The poignant question of Christ to them should still ring in our ears today: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Yes, Christian faith is not merely a feel-good, good-times religion, it is a religion for all seasons. Christ extends His protecting hand over us as infants in baptism, as children via Sunday School, as teens through confirmation, as adults through communion, and at all stages of life through worship where He comes to uplift, guide and strengthen us.
What’s bothering you right now? What worries are eating away at your faith? Have you prayed about them? Have you searched the Scriptures to see His answers? Or, are you waiting for them to get so bad that you have no where else to go but to Him?
My friends, don’t be reactive Christians, be proactive ones! Exercise your faith by taking control of your life—do so by turning to Him in humble faith trusting in His goodness and His power. For by doing so, you’ll save yourself unimaginable grief while being rewarded with unimaginable peace. Amen