Message from the Minister Letter 50 – Sunday 20th June 2021

Dear all,

I hope and pray this letter finds you well.  It has now been a full year of writing these letters to you all, I hope you have found them of some use and help.  Now the church is open, and things are starting to ease, this will be my last letter.  I look forward to welcoming you back to church soon when you feel ready.  Please be assured all necessary measures are in place and continue to be so. 

Summer is a time of beautiful weather, which we are currently enjoying now, but this can also produce some terrific thunderstorms and quite frightening conditions.  I was told of one such story recently in which a family had taken a hire boat out on Lake Windermere on a warm bright sunny day, they had stopped at one of the stops for an afternoon tea and had just set off back after seeing a few clouds gathering in the sky.  Unfortunately for them and others out on the lake this turned into a serious storm and soon the rain was lashing down and the dad who was driving the boat was struggling to see the way ahead.  Thankfully, they returned to the base safe and sound but for a while were concerned for their health and safety as the storm appeared out of nowhere and there was no support, warning, or any helpful instructions from the hire company. 

The disciples encountered a similar kind of situation (read Mark 4: 35 – 41) when having a rest from ministry they left the crowds behind to go to the other side of the lake.  Although the water is called many things including the Sea of Galilee, and Lake Gennesaret due to its geographical location the water can go from being a calm tranquil place to having gale force storms.  This is because the winds blow down the Mediterranean and then get trapped in the area above the water because it is surrounded by mountains thus making the conditions very changeable.  Because of His busy schedule Jesus falls asleep in the boat and a squall develops.  It must have been severe as most of the disciples are seasoned fishermen and would have been used to stormy conditions out on the water.  They became so alarmed they wake Jesus, and He rises in the boat and commands the wind and the waves to be still. 

Jesus questions the disciples and asks them, ‘why are you so afraid, do you still have no faith?’ They are terrified and ask each other, who is this even the wind and the waves obey Him?  Clearly, the disciples, have not fully realised the power of Jesus and the full extent of His authority and divinity.  The storm must have been particularly bad to alarm a bunch of seasoned fishermen and perhaps even more alarming was the fact that Jesus slept like a baby through it all.  The account teaches us a valuable lesson, that throughout all the storms of life Jesus is with us, and at times it may seem like He is sleeping and not in control.  But as we learn from this reading that is not the case.  Jesus challenges the disciples on why they do not have faith and trust in Him.  Throughout all things, we are to trust and have faith in Christ.  I appreciate that this is easier to say than accept but it is true.  Over the course of the pandemic, the storm has seemed like it was never going to end, however, the storm is beginning to ease, and Jesus is still with us.  Let us always remember that Jesus has promised to be with us, even to the end of the age. 

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the stiller of the storm, bless us now and always,

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