An Anchor in the Storm
Beloved in Christ,
This gospel lesson appointed for this past Sunday was Mark's version of Jesus calming a nighttime storm while in a boat with his disciples. Jesus is somehow asleep through it all, so they wake him up in a panic, and he orders the waves to be still.
One of the things that struck me this time around is that Jesus seems to be annoyed at their panic. "Why are you afraid?" he says. You'd think the reason for their fear would be obvious: they are in a small fishing boat being tossed by violent waves on open water. But Jesus' ability to sleep, and his annoyance at their fear, gets to the heart of what the life of discipleship is about. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is an assurance of God's ultimate victory over sin and death. While the world lingers in those storms, God has planted a flag signaling the ultimate endgame of love, peace, and justice. The worst the world can be, the worst that can be thrown at us, the worst inside of us, will be undone by the power of love.
That won't stop the storms in our life. Clearly the waves continue to swell all around us. But when, day by day, moment by moment, we practice grounding ourselves in Easter's victory of life and love, it radically reshapes how we show up in the storm. Our daily spiritual practices, our weekly worship together, become an anchor to ground us and a fixed point on the horizon to steady our gaze. However the storms might be battering the ship of your life, however they might appear to be endless in the world around us, remember that Jesus—the fullness of God's power and love—is always right here in the boat with us. Sitting with Jesus day by day, practicing love, forgiveness, and mercy with each other, allows us to sail steady even through the choppiest waters. Ultimately, it's that practice that will allow us to be what God intends for us to be: a lifeboat reaching out in peace and justice to those who are drowning in the waves. What a gift to be in this boat together.
Grace and Peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
Episcopal Church in MN