Bloom with Intention: Gentle Jesus and a Mighty Storm
This week we welcome in a new month and with it an opportunity to bloom in new ways. We’ll Bloom with Intention this month, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this word and the discussions around it lead us. As Rev. Stephanie takes her sabbatical this month, you’ll be receiving the weekly newsletter stylings of me, Kelsey Creech, your Resident Seminarian.
We’ll be worshipping together online this Sunday, and hearing a sermon from our very own Meghan Janssen. She’ll be preaching from the book of Mark, telling one of three accounts of a story where Jesus calms a storm. While Jesus, whose humanness causes him to need rest, sleeps soundly in the back of the boat, unfazed by the storm because his God-ness gives him control over it, the disciples, who do not seem to possess the divine ability to control the weather, panic. Let’s read together this passage from Mark and pay close attention to Jesus’ response to their anxiety:
35 With the coming of evening that same day, Jesus said to the disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other shore.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took Jesus in the boat in which he was sitting. There were other boats with them.
37 Then a fierce gale arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat so much that it was almost swamped. 38 But Jesus was in the stern through it all, sound asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said, “Teacher, doesn’t it matter to you that we’re going to drown?”
39 Jesus awoke, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be calm!” And the wind dropped and everything was perfectly calm. 40 Jesus then said to the disciples, “Why were you so frightened? Have you no faith?”
41 But they became filled with fear and said to one another, “Who is this, whom even the wind and sea obey?”
[Mark 4:35-41/Marcos 4:35-41]
Jesus rebukes the wind, but Jesus does not rebuke the disciples.
In this passage, I find comfort that my anxiety and fear around things like the DELTA variant of Covid-19 and the lack of accountability of known sexual predators are not rebuked by Jesus. Jesus reminds us that he is in control gently. He asks lovingly, “Why are you frightened?” rather than chastising me for holding anxieties about living in our world as a young, queer woman, and I am comforted by the knowledge that even as the storm scares me, it does not scare God. God rebukes the gale, not those blown about within it.
Beloved, we can hold our fears and anxieties about life alongside our faith in an omnipotent, benevolent God. Jesus, with sleep still crusting his eyes, calms the storm and reminds us God is in control, but he does not fault us for feeling afraid. As we grow in faith, our concerns may change, but anxiety is one of many fully human emotions which will never fully vanish. We can know God holds the world and still be troubled by what happens in it.
It’s rare that we take the time in church to be fully honest about what burdens us, but Beloved, the space to bring those concerns is absolutely the Church! I encourage each of you to email me or Stephanie Wilson if you have a specific burden you’d like lifted up in prayer on Sunday mornings. Like the Disciples in our passage, we all feel better when we bring our fears to Jesus, and it’s the work of a faithful community to hold those anxieties together.
Wishing all of you a safe weekend, however you choose to spend it. See you Sunday!
Kelsey Creech Resident Seminarian
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian
Last Sunday, the older children and I read Mark 5:35-43 and talked about the motives Jesus may have had for staying rather than running right to the dying girl, the emotional whiplash of thinking she had died only to have her returned to life, and the importance of snacks. The younger children, Mr. Trevor and I spent time in fellowship, hearing about the joys of their lives and praying together.
This week, we will read Mark 4:35-41in our Inclusive Language Bible and “Jesus Calms a Storm” in our Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible. We’ll talk about the fear of the Disciples and Jesus’ groggy, loving response to it. We’ll talk about storms in our own lives and how we can talk to Jesus about our fears, just like the Disciples did.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to gather with the children of The Park each week. They are such bright individuals, and I am continually blessed by the community we are building together.
Well, it isn't food for your stomach (though when we are able to meet again in person, we will share a brown bag lunch right after church), but it is food — almost a banquet — for your soul.
SoulFood Fellowship is a gathering of The PARK members and friends who get together from near and far after worship on the third Sunday of each month. We engage in conversation that is bound to get you thinking and talking. We discuss and reflect on books, articles, documentary films, or plays —in light of our faith, Bible Study, and concern for social justice.
We have concluded our study of Juan Gonzalez's Harvest of Empire, and on July 18 we'll be taking up a new social justice focus—beginning with a review and commentary by one of our participants and followed by our response with regard to what God requires of us. We would love to have you join us and share your perspective, experience, hopes, and concerns.
Join Rev. Stephanie at the 2021 Disciples Virtual Gathering! Registration is now LIVE! Join Disciples from across the US and Canada for this one day, live event on August 7. Featuring Bible study, workshops and worship as we celebrate that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.