4 ~ June 21, 2015
you see is what you get.” David called that out to the bully Goliath after he
brought sandwiches to his brothers in order to report back to his dad how
things were going in a scrap with the Philistines. Although the king’s armour
was too big, he decided he could meet the task just as he was.
you see is what you get.” Paul
told the skittish Christians in the church at Corinth. They preferred comfort
and convenience. He reminded them of his life of following Christ and told
them he was an open book. Christ takes us as we are and we open our hearts to
others. It’s not easy, he says, but that’s how it works.
disciples were really alarmed in the boat with Jesus. He was asleep and they
were terrified. They took him “just as he was.” He wouldn’t join them in
their fear. Jesus always accompanies us in the same way: mercy, care and
presence as we move from one place to another in life. “What you see is
what you get.” Where are you going?
travels, Jesus directs his followers to support others when times are hard and
offer help. So the disciples get into the boat. They are headed to the other
side — for other adventures with people but those journeys to another side of
life can be scary.
example, we’ve been drawn together to support refugees and it’s a lot of work
to help just one family. But there are 20 million refugees in the world, most
of them children. We challenge environmental hazards like Pope Francis has done
with his new encyclical — some people cheer and others are upset. A young man
shoots nine people after a Bible study in Charleston for racial reasons. Some
scream for the death penalty and others speak forgiveness. It’s all enough to
make a little group just want to pull church walls around them and form a
club. That’s what St. Paul was challenging. It’s not easy to keep an open
heart as we follow Christ.
the next steps in life can be daunting. Many of you have lost loved ones, have
changed location and downsized, have significant health issues and will need to
make more changes. A painful question whispers as we go from one place to
another: “God, do you even care?” Sometimes, the struggle with
everything feels like it’s too much and we throw that question at God, but as I
often say to people, God has big shoulders and can take it. We will get
through as long as we don’t jump out of the boat.
fills our lives. Stress management experts say that only 2% of our worrying
time is productive. The rest of this time we fret and fume: 40% on things that
never happen; 35% on things that can’t be changed; 15% on things that turned
out better than expected; and 8% on useless, petty worries.
to do the best we can. Personal storms involve finances, relationships, and
health issues. We get advice, use our resources, do everything possible — but
just can’t fix it all. The waves come over the side and like the disciples in
the boat we end up frantic. The one who claims to care the most is quiet and
passive. Doesn’t God care about my troubles? Where is the miracle? Why
isn’t this fixed? I`m so scared. Is God asleep? Is God absent? Am I all
alone? I’m just afraid, that’s all. I don’t know what to do. And so we
see the disciples upset and shaking Jesus.
remember hearing from a lifeguard that when trying to save someone who is
struggling from drowning, that person may first have to be subdued. Shouting
or a wrestler’s grip may need to be applied to combat the fear.
the storm is inside rather than outside. When Jesus says, “Peace, be still!”
that message could be for us. Faith deals with our hearts more than our
circumstances. The calm for our panic is who is with us. That is faith. It
is trust in the one who cares quietly and deeply even though we may be flapping
our arms in worry.
are you afraid of? People tell me: death, being poor, being discarded, being
disabled, being alone. Those things are scary. They are real fears. Jesus
never says,“there is nothing to be afraid of.” However, he reminds us of
his presence and draws attention to faith.
are you afraid?
looked up from his snooze in the stern, saw the disciples flailing about,
almost tipping the boat in their distress and said, “Enough!” The sea
and the wind responded first. What about the disciples? Did they seem
sort of crazy? Were they thinking, “What if this happens? What if that
happens?” Fear was beating them. They needed to get back on track... and
it was only by trusting who was in the boat with them. When they had peace,
everything else gradually calmed down as well.
simplistic to let go of fear and trust that God will take care of things we
cannot fix? Is it ridiculous to do what we can and then cast our cares on the
Lord — like the farmer sleeping while the seeds grow in his field (from last
week)? What do we need in life that settles us down and calms our storms? Is
it that we are loved? That we are not alone? That no one, no force, no
trouble, no enemy, no disease, no catastrophe can keep God from loving us?
is not crazy. That is what Jesus calls faith, and it allows us to get to the
other side of life… where we have enough peace to live and even help others one
person at a time. Christ will be there as well.
we see is what we get. Jesus
hasn’t changed, hasn’t left and hasn’t forgotten us. As we quiet, we can hear
his voice often coming to us through one who loves us and is close at hand.
That’s how the Spirit of Christ works: one person helping another. It calms for
our storms. It’s the encouragement for another side of life…
to someone and speak the words that help each of us move forward:
is with us — we’ll get through this together.”