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About a Storm

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He 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. 35-41

On Sunday, many of us will hear this familiar story from the gospel of Mark about Jesus calming the storm in the face of the doubting disciples. With the words, "Peace! Be still!" he settled the wind and calmed the waters. And so the disciples realized even more how mighty this Jesus was; they were in awe that "even the wind and sea obey him."

Storms are a natural part of life; hurricanes, tornados and mighty winds come on a regular basis. We can "batten down the hatches" and prepare to the n'th degree, but a storm can come through and destroy even the hatches! Sitting on the river in Florida, we have watched hurricane winds come through and destroy docks and gazebos as though they were tiddly winks. And there was nothing we could do but watch.

In the great novel Cry, the Beloved Country, a story of the storm of apartheid that swept through South Africa and still wreaks havoc on that part of the world today, there is a scene between the two main characters which illustrates this scripture passage beautifully. A Zulu Anglican priest Stephen Kumalo and a white English speaking land owner, whose lives have been irrevocably damaged by their sons' actions, sit in the run down Zulu Anglican church in the middle of a storm with rain pouring through the roof. Over the sound of the rain falling on them, they discuss how to go forward, and Stephen Kumalo says, "About a storm you can do nothing, but after a storm you can rebuild."

The storms of our lives are inevitable; the damage they leave behind can be brutal. But perhaps this story in Mark's gospel compels us to call on God in the midst of them, to have faith that God is present, and to remember that God will be in the midst of the rebuilding.

Cry, the Beloved Country is a must read. The movie made in 1995 is almost as good as the book; reading and watching is the best way to get the full effect, in my opinion.

James Jarvis and Stephen Kumalo heard the voice of God say, "Peace! Be Still!"


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