Proper 7- Deacon Gill- June 24, 2018

I had an incident in my life over 46 years ago that I have often thought about. Rod and I had been married almost a year and we were living in an apartment in Manhattan. One Friday evening we were preparing to have friends over for dinner and I dropped a pan of boiling water on my bare foot. Instinctively I dashed into the bathroom and ran cold water over it. It was a real mess and we had no idea what to do.

We had only been in Manhattan a few months, we were from another country and did not know then the procedures in America. We knew few people, had no idea where the hospitals were and had no doctor. But we needed help. I remembered that in the apartment next door there was a man with an eastern European name who had the word doctor before his name. I knew it because the nameplate on the door said so. Rod went and knocked and asked him to come in, which he did. I chose to invite a stranger into our home and to take his advice.

By now my whole foot was one big blister and the toes had fused and as I say it was a real mess and oh so painful. The man looked and said how he would treat it with loads of burn cream from CVS opposite, keep it covered, and change the dressings regularly. Stay off the foot and whatever you do don’t burst the blister. Let it heal naturally. But even more important don’t go to the hospital. They will burst the blister, you will get an infection in it there, and it will scar.

So we did exactly what he said. Were we naïve or what?

We never spoke to the man again but did exactly what he said. On reflection, and believe me I have reflected on this accident from all angles, I put my whole trust in him. However one thing I will never resolve is whether he was a medical doctor or a Phd doctor!  Within about 3 months my foot was completely healed. And when I say completely I mean completely. I have absolutely no sign of any trauma but I do have photos to prove how bad it had looked at the time.

I said on reflection I put my whole trust in the man. I never questioned, I followed instruction. We chose to invite him in. He was a stranger. I trusted him and he gave very sound advice.

Our gospel reading this morning takes place on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus has just finished a period of teaching when He decides to leave the crowd and, along with His disciples, go across to the other aside. There were several boats with them. It’s as they’re making this journey that we’re told that there was a whirlwind. The wind blew, the sea became rough and the disciples were afraid.

In the midst of this scene, the disciples come to find that Jesus is asleep! How could someone sleep in that chaos? It gives a glimpse into Jesus’s character and who He was. It shows us that He had no fear of the wind and the waves. He knew that the storm was no threat to Him. The disciples, do not have this confidence and they ask Him ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’. Do we see that their fear of perishing, is greater than their confidence in the presence of Jesus?

It’s at this point that Jesus gets up and we’re told that He actually rebukes the wind and says to the sea ‘Peace, be still’. And all of a sudden, the wind and the waves which only moments earlier were raging, stop and are replaced with what we are told is a great calm.

Peace be still

Life can be stormy. We never know what is ahead of us. We have all experienced pain and fear and loss. We’ve all been in those situations where we wonder where Jesus is in the midst of it all. I certainly did when I burnt my foot. Through today’s passage, God is speaking directly into those situations.

We ask where is Jesus? Where is Jesus when we or a loved one gets diagnosed with cancer? Where is he when a loved one dies? Where is he when we have problems with our children? Where is Jesus when everywhere we look we see hate and violence? Where is Jesus during the storm, doesn’t he even care?

I’ll tell you where he is. He is in the boat with us. He’s right there ready and willing to step in, when we cry out. It is when you ask for help and comfort that you find the peace that surpasses all understanding.

You know the story of Job. He is a wealthy, successful farmer and family man.  He is said to be blameless and upright, and always careful to avoid doing evil. He has a strong faith in God.  Then God asks Satan for his opinion of Job’s piety and Satan answers that Job is pious only because God has blessed him.  If God took everything that Job had, then he would surely curse God. So God tests Job and he looses it all. His wealth, his children and his servants.

And in his suffering Job continues to praise God, but he doesn’t understand what is happening so he questions. Why has he been punished when he has not sinned? What has he done wrong? He wants answers from God. Finally in todays readings from the Old Testament we hear from God. Job probably does not hear the answer that he wants or expects. Which I might add is often the way. Instead God lists the things that He does and describes the works of creation. Job cannot do the work of God because he is human not divine. He cannot comprehend the complexity of the universe.  Job confesses his lack of wisdom, meaning his lack of understanding.  Job’s question of why is never answered but he is comforted by what he has heard and God restores to the suffering Job his health and wealth.

When we hit the storms in life and start sinking our tendency is to keep paddling and bailing, saying to ourselves I think I’ve got this if I could just do this or that. Then everything will calm and be better. We then use all of our own resources until we become so tired we can’t paddle and we can’t get a big enough bucket to bail. It is then that we cry out, “Help me Lord!!! Don’t you see me struggling? Don’t you even care?”

So the questions we may be asking now are; what does this mean for us, right here, this morning?

Father Chris our rector has left. We now find ourselves in a period of change with an interim Rector to get to know and work with. In a matter of 3 weeks what was smooth sailing here at St Paul’s has for some become a bit choppy. One moment we were happily gliding along through life and then suddenly many things become changed.

I say to you all today that I have every confidence that we are in very good hands with Ken Fields here as interim Rector. I know he will keep steering us in the right direction. He will be a calming influence for any who are feeling that the sea is beginning to churn. This time is a moment of great clarity for us as a parish and to be non anxious. At this time of change we need to put our faith in Jesus. Then your vestry will invite a search committee to come together to recommend a new rector. That is months down the line and we will need to be praying for that search committee because it is not a simple task and is very time consuming. The diocesan staff will be a valuable resource. We can do it.

Jesus said to his disciples “why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Even though they had witnessed all the great things Jesus had done they were still afraid and even though Jesus was physically right there in the boat with them.

When you realize Jesus is in the boat with you and you don’t have to ride out the storms of life alone it helps not to fear them as much. The storm may still be there but you realize that everything will be alright. You may reflect on the storms he’s already brought you through and realize that your ship isn’t going to sink because you are not alone..

As Paul told the Corinthians ‘as we work together with Christ.’ That is what we are called to do. To be non anxious …….get on with our ministry together and to trust that God, and our church leaders, will do right by us.

Service Schedule

Sunday Services
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite I
9:15 a.m. Christian Formation
10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Weekday Services
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist


St. Paul's Episcopal Church
5373 Franz Rd
Katy, Texas 77493
(281) 391-2785

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