Devotion for Dec. 29, 2021 from Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer:
Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. Mark 4:39
These runners look exhausted, don’t they? I don’t know about you, but I always feel like these runners after Christmas is over. It’s always a challenge, even though, as Pastor Tia said last time, it’s good stress!
Post Christmas time may have left you with mixed feelings. Getting more time with family may have been lovely, but more family time can also be difficult. Sometimes, it’s both! The stress of these last 21 months has left many of us exhausted and some of us may have had to fight to make ourselves do what normally would bring us joy.
In Mark’s story, the disciples and Jesus are in the midst of a storm. It’s not a pandemic, but stressful nonetheless! Apparently, Jesus is exhausted, too, because he is sound asleep. How he can sleep through a storm in a boat, I do not know! The disciples (kinda like us) are stressed to the max. They cry out to Jesus, and it’s pretty dramatic. To paraphrase, “Jesus, we’re dying here! Don’t you even care?!” And then this lovely passage, Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
Well, I’m no sailor, but that sounds incredibly good. I could use some dead calm in my heart. I guess that’s what you call the peace that passes all understanding…. Again, I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived long enough with Jesus, that, even in the midst of the awfullest times, even when I’m so exhausted I want to just sit down and cry, or rage, or, whatever – when I cry out, Jesus can bring peace to me. Maybe it’s not calm, rarely a dead calm, but peace in the midst of the chaos, a sense that I am not alone, that God will see me through, is a gift in any storm. Sometimes Jesus has given me that calm in a conversation with a good friend, a song on the radio, a verse in the bible, a still small voice….
In this after-Christmas time, I hope that you and I will find ways to open ourselves up to peace, to calm, to stillness, to hope. After all, that’s why the baby came.