June 19th, 2015 by Christopher Caudle
The public is urged to remain calm in the face of distress, tragedy, or danger. Families are asked to be calm at the hearing of difficult news and friends offer the advice at the beginning of a difficult conversation.
Mentioning the need for calm is usually a good indicator that it may not come to us naturally in the situation we are experiencing.
When it appears in the gospel reading this Sunday, we won’t be too surprised to find it surrounded by things that are anything but completely calm.
Serenity. Peace. Stillness. Quiet. Stability.
These descriptions call us when the world outside is exactly opposite. They sometimes seem to be our desired antidote to a week gone wrong or a world gone mad.
Or they seem to be always just out of reach, one step beyond our grasp.
How do these words show up in the middle of a week like this one?
How do we experience complete calm when the world outside or inside us is everything except?
The short answers we often hear are often no real answers at all. Part of why is because until we ask this question in the midst of all that is swirling and crashing and devastating around us, we will hear the words of Jesus as too abstract, too simple, too easy for us to put true faith in. His words are designed to be received with the storm.
Job asks his questions in the middle of his sorrows.
The disciples ask their question in their imagined final moments in the sea.
Our brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina ask their questions in the wake of inexplicable hatred and loss.
In storms or struggles or devastation, the calm that follows the storm can be overwhelming. Assessing what has changed, what has been lost, who needs help and a hundred other things can fill the days following with questions, discussion and wonder.
I want to invite us to pray. We each may begin in a different place.
You may pray for justice and righteousness to be done.
You may pray for comfort and mercy to be shown.
Both find their invitations in the scriptures, so begin wherever you are.
Both finally resolve only in the person and success of Jesus Christ, who alone fully knows what it feels like to bear the full claims of justice and the full pain of injustice within his faithful heart.
In the very center of chaos, he sets the stage for his disciples to better know him and to better know themselves. His invitation extends to us in similar states of storm and struggle as well.
grace and certain hope,