A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on a cushion; 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 dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”Bible reading: Mark 4: 37-39.
Right now the world is a bit topsy- turvy, to put it mildly. Much of the world is in isolation and people are uncertain about the future. How do we, as followers of Christ, respond to all of this?
I’ve been keeping up to date as to what is happening in the world regarding the coronavirus, covid 19, and the way people have and are responding. There have been touching scenes of people singing from their balconies in Italy to people showing kindness by ensuring their neighbours aren’t in need. But there has also been a darker side – of people panic buying and fighting over goods, of people trying to sell products over the internet at horribly inflated prices. There have also been cases where people have tested positive and have simply flouted the advice and guidance that we have been given and sought to carry on regardless.
It matters greatly in life how we react to challenges, especially something like we are facing now. It matters what our motives are. What does our behaviour reflect? Are we simply angry that our lives have been inconvenienced or do we look beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture?
I believe Jesus was a bigger picture kind if person. I think Jesus always looked beyond and I think he did so for the greater good. We know that in every circumstance he gave himself selflessly and always went the extra mile. He set the example for us of looking outward and taught his followers to consider others instead of thinking only of themselves. Of course, he wasn’t advocating that we become doormats for others to trample on but he wanted those who heard his teaching to care about others.
Because when we care, when we do our bit, so to speak, when we put our wellbeing and welfare of our brothers and sisters at the forefront of our hearts and minds, everyone benefits, everyone is lifted up. Hence the call for us to be diligent and to listen to the advice we have been given because it isn’t about being inconvenienced, it’s actually about ensuring that lives are saved. Am I my brother or sister’s keeper? Yes, I am.
Finally, a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately and, indeed, have used myself; that we are all in the same boat, generally, with regard to this virus. This has reminded me of our Bible passage for this week about Jesus calming the storm. When the waves rose up, and the wind howled, and the boat was being swamped by the sea, and the disciples were petrified, Jesus was woken from his sleep and asked by the disciples whether he cared about their wellbeing, Jesus got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased and the sea was dead calm. This story teaches us something quite simple; that when Jesus is in the boat, and a raging storm appears, we have nothing to fear.
Loving God, thank you for your love for us. Teach us not to be fearful but to trust in you, that even in the midst of great challenges and the “raging storms of life,” Jesus is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us. Amen.