Agents of Peace, June 21.2012

Mark 4:37-39 
(A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.)
But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and 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 a dead calm.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a boat in the midst of a storm but it’s horrible. I once took the boat that goes back and forth across Lake Michigan between Michigan and Wisconsin. It’s not far, and shouldn’t take long to cross. But a storm hit the lake as we got to the middle and it was if we were powerless in the face of the mighty winds slamming into the boat from every direction. As we bobbed around like a cork the all attendants could do was tell folks to buckle up, pass out puke bags and sit down and hang on themselves. Let me tell you, it was the worst three hours I’ve ever spent in a confined space. After we docked on the other side I remember finding a bench just outside the ‘station’ and laying down in order to get my bearings. I laid there for what seemed like hours before the world stopped spinning around me.

So when I imagine an epic storm on the lake like Mark describes I think to myself, those disciples must have been desperate. Here we have some expert fisherman who know their way around a lake and a boat and they’re being tossed around and are filling up with water. When they call out to Jesus I imagine a bit of accusatory tone, “Don’t you care?! We’re going to die in this storm!” And then Jesus wakes, and looks around and speaks, not to the disciples but to the wind and to the sea. He turns to the source of the chaos and rebukes it. ‘Be at Peace’, says Jesus.

The words he uses, Peace and Be Still to bring a dead and sudden calm to the chaotic sea are the same words he uses to rebuke demons. These are the same words Jesus uses to quiet the chaos that rages in those who come seeking healing, seeking calm, seeking wholeness. Jesus stands in the boat amidst the chaos and responds with a non-anxious and commanding presence that is both frightening and inspiring.

In calming the storm Jesus claims the power of our Creator God that has worked to bring life and order to chaos since the beginning of time. God does care that we are perishing, God cares very much. God will stand in the boat with us and speak directly to the storm. Ordering it to be still, to be at peace. Sometimes we are like the disciples and we lose our nerve, we are frightened and fearful, and rightly so. There are some crazy storms out there. Other times we are called to be agents of peace, to speak with God, to stand with Christ, to model our own non-anxious presence on the saints that have gone before us. To join our voices with others who rebuke the storms, the raging and chaos, who rebuke what is evil and frightening and wrestling for power.

Can you think of the people in your life that stand up against the storms of injustice, of unfairness or illness. Who speak words of peace, sometimes gently and sometimes with passionately but always with the knowledge that God is with us?

May you be an agent of peace,
May you move forward in the storms with courage,
Knowing that Christ is with you,
That God will not allow chaos to overtake the world,
May your own voice be made stronger joined with the voice of Christ,
Claiming the power to say, Be StillBe at PeaceLove one Another.



Musical Meditation
Sarah McLachlan