United Methodists in Sierra Leone have lost family and friends in a massive mudslide and flooding that have killed some 400 people with another 600 people still missing.
The people of Guam have heard North Korea’s threats before, but still United Methodists there pray for “wisdom and restraint on the part of all those with the instruments of such deadly force in their hands,”
Professor Brian Snyder says that Christians must reject the nuclear threat of the saber-rattling between the USA and North Korea.
A veteran of the war against the Nazis, the Rev. Billy Cox finds the study of history more urgent than ever in America’s current crisis about race and white supremacy.
After retired Bishop Bill Lewis’ open letter to the Rev. Jeff Greenway, executive director of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, the two exchange responses about their perspectives.
Gale-force winds arose, and waves crashed against the boat so that the boat was swamped. But Jesus was in the rear of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re drowning?”
– Mark 4:37-38
|Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633|
Panic is what we are tempted to do when waves come crashing in on the boat we are in. The disciples gave in to the temptation, even to the point that they accuse Jesus of not caring. The disciples were afraid. They knew the lake well, most of them growing up on its shores and working its water from their youth. When things suddenly change, people panic and that reaction, left unchecked, tries to replace common sense and truth.
Trust. Fear was not the only option, though. Jesus was not acting based on fear; in fact, he was asleep on a pillow. Jesus trusts that the waves cannot do more than they can do. They cannot touch his soul or the souls of the men on that boat.
We are 10,000 miles from that lake. It happened 2,000 years ago. The languages spoken there are now dead, but the story is still very much alive. This story is important. When the boat we are in is being battered by the waves, we have a choice to give in to fear or to trust. This is a word for America. This is a word for me. Is it a word for you, too?
We are called to trust. We are called to give witness to the power of the one who calms the storms. We are called to not panic. The means of grace, given to us by God, to stay grounded in such trust include prayer, the scriptures, worship, and fasting. These get us through the storm.
Before the story is over, Jesus spoke and the winds and storm were immediately calmed. He has that kind of power. Our task is to trust and not give in to fear.
Grace and peace, Scott
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