God of our refuge, in the eye of the storm,
we find you in the stillness.
At the heart of The Tempest, you are with us.
May we still our bodies, slow our breathing,
and open ourselves to you,
may our hearts and minds quietened. Amen
Facing the storms
We live in unsteady, uncertain times, when much is changing. Coronavirus is the immediate challenge, which is providing different challenges daily. Climate change is bringing extreme weather, physical storms to be weathered. Our changing relationship with Europe is causing uncertainties. In our personal lives a sudden storm can come out of nowhere, our relationships and family lives, our health and strength can be quickly threatened.
In the Book of Acts chapter 27 Saint Paul faces of violent storm, The journey had started out with a moderate wind and they had thought that they could achieve their purpose, but a violent storm arose and rushed down upon them and there was nothing they can do about it. they try lowering the sea anchor and were driven by the wind, they were pounded by a storm so violently that they begin to throw the cargo overboard, and then later with their own hands they throw the ships tackle overboard. when neither sun nor moon nor stars appear for many days and no small tempest raged all their hope of being saved is abandoned.
When we are faced with storms in our lives, we are often tempted to leap to the Bible story where Jesus is caught in a storm and calms it with a word. But perhaps we can dare to stick with the choppy waters for a while? In St. Paul’s account in Acts the story starts with a moderate wind and they can still share feel they can achieve their purpose, but it gets worse and they’re driven before the wind. They become more desperate and throw the cargo and even the ships tackle overboard. despair can make us act rashly, even throwing away the very things we need to survive. In the boat there was no sun, no stars, no light, no hope!
It could be the same in the storms we are facing today. On a worldwide scale we face the real storms of climate change, we are in an unfolding climate catastrophe that will reshape all our lives. We face the storm of migration people fleeing conflict and poverty, longing for a better life that they can see us living in the wealthy countries. Myriad tiny boats try to cross the stormy waters, many people losing their lives in their desperate bid for freedom.
On a personal scale in our own lives, relationships can become rocky with arguments, irritation, indifference, all adding to the storm. Between the generations, arguments about screen time, brands, and changing attitudes can leave family life feeling unsteady. Or it may be our health that is compromised, sudden loss of mobility or independence, struggles with memory loss and dementia can all fling us into a storm
Throughout this week coronavirus is causing even more storms with government guidance encouraging social distancing, isolation for many, school closures, jobs and roles changing, panic buying is stripping the shops of food, public worship put on hold. There is the fear of what is ahead for all. We feel we are being driven by a storm and cannot see any light.
Yet in the midst of it, God is there. We do not face it alone.
God of these times, of these storms,
present in the heart of the turmoil,
with us in the changes and chances of our lives,
you have made us,
prepared us for these times,
and so we do not lose heart!
Give us the courage and confidence to weather our storms
with you as are still small voice of peace Amen