Storms and Sunshine
Sermon Comberton / Toft 11th Feb 2007. Lk8:22-25
<<Storms can shape our lives as much as Sunshine>>
Whilst Jacqui and I were in NZ… catching up with friends and family.
- photos, what’s been important in our lives
- PHOTOS we take / albums / show
only show one side
think how many wedding photos you have seen
how many funeral photos you’ve seen.
Jacqui – She and her mum… flicking through
whole year where there didn’t seem to be many photos.
year her sister had been very ill. difficult time.
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting we get out our digital cameras…funerals, hospital bedsides
Our lives are shaped as much by the difficult / painful experiences as the happier ones. Not q so quick to forget them.
2 weeks ago Mike preached about Simeon and Anna. Aged, faithful prophets in the temple when Mary and Joseph came for rite.
How their attitudes had been shaped by their lives.
My guess is that part of that was coming thru painful experiences trusting in God.
! 2 ENCOUNTERS ON THE LAKE
Focus on the Gospel reading – calming of the storm.
Compare with Gospel reading we had last week
Simon Peter… miraculous catch of fish
Similar setting: boat/ sea of galilee/ Jesus, SP, disciples
FISH: calm, exciting
STORM: rough, disturbing
Back in ANE….while to go before camera was invented.
Simon P flicking thru photo album with mother-in-law
Which miracle more likely to show?
I don’t think he would have shown her a photo of him in the storm clinging on to the mast for dear life, face white as a sheet, fear in his eyes.
Much more likely… catch of the fish.
I can picture the photograph now:
in the background, the boat pulled up on the shore, full to overflowing with rainbow coloured fish. in the foreground, Peter with his arm round Jesus, smiling. And underneath a caption “The Day I Decided to Follow Jesus.”
But of course the Bible is not like a family photo album.
difficult / happy
rough / smooth – literally J
My reading – calming of storm – just as important in the disciples r/ship with J.
!! In the life of faith…
Storms can shape our lives as much as sunshine
WHAT THE CHARACTERS SAY
Not going to go through the whole story, familiar.
What the characters say to each other. Clue…
“Master, master, we’re going to drown!”
- Panic, despairing, helpless.
- That’s how it can feel when we’re hit by a storm. End of our own resources.
“Where is your faith?”
- Not accusing them of having no faith
- The faith you showed the other week – where is it today?
Storm showed that their faith fragile, incomplete
didn’t go as deep as they thought.
So true. “rock the boat” challenge our faith.
Not end of story. Left with question on their lips:
“Who is this man? He commands even the winds and water and they obey him.”
Left with a question. No answer for it at the time. That question that later on in the Gospel of Luke deeper faith. who J really is/ what that means for them.
Not that magically faith is strengthened. Seeds.
Storms can reveal the frailty of our faith, but they can lead us to stronger faith.
HOW TO RESPOND
If it’s true what I’ve said:
Difficult experiences shape our lives as much as happier
Storms / sunshine.
how should we respond when things are difficult?
Things are tough: one of two ways
Some: push them away from God… bitter.
Others: grow closer to God. Faith emerges stronger, more mature.
Not magically; over time.
Peter, lung cancer, 2 years. Exuded a radiant faith in God that showed he knew his home in heaven was secure.
As I said at the start, photos we take and show are nearly always of the happy memories: birthdays, graduations, holidays.
But if we are shaped by the storms as much as by the sunshine, then it’s worth pondering where God was at work in our struggles.
Moment- picture snapshot of yourself when you were going through a difficult time.
- sitting on the sofa in your living room feeling lonely
- having to say goodbye to someone dear to you
- in the middle of a family row
- struggling to make ends meet financially.
whatever it is – picture how you imagine God was responding to you at that moment.
ask: how is that experience shaping me?
Finally a word for those who are going through dark or difficult times at the moment.
Very simply: Pray to Jesus.
Nearly everyone – whether believer or not – prays at the most desperate moments of their lives.
As Christians – advantage.
NOT abstract, faceless God
Pray to Jesus – man who knows what it was like
- to see his friends terrified in a violent storm.
- to weep at the tomb of a dear friend.
- to be rejected and despised by those around him.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.”
Storms shape us as much as sunshine, but we have a saviour who is able to help us through the storms and strengthen us in the process.
!!! Be still my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake,
all now mysterious shall be clear at last.
Be still my soul: the tempests still obey
his voice, who ruled them once on Galilee. (NHWS24)