When I re-vamped this blog several weeks ago, I shared that I would reflect on finding my fit as I “lived with the lectionary.” This is all well and good until the text for the week is the stormy sea with the sleeping savior. You know the passage, the one where the disciples and Jesus get into a boat. (I assume on a clear day). Until a storm suddenly appears. And these experienced anglers quake in terror of the ship going down while Jesus sleeps below deck.
Honestly, I’ve always really enjoyed this story. The drama. The emotion. The sea. But really living this text–not as enjoyable.
You see to be fair, engaging this text means being honest about the reality that storms happen. They just do. Even with Jesus in your boat. And we’re not in control of the storms. Even the anglers can’t control the sea. Apparently having an expertise in something doesn’t guarentee smooth sailing. And as a recovering perfectionist, I resist this. For a long time, I thought that. (Scratch that) I believed that if I could learn enough…figure out enough…grow enough…I would know how to avoid the storms. Simply avoid them. That’s what good people do, right? Avoid storms.
Except this has never really worked for me. In fact, I think I’ve ended up taking on more water being in denial about storms. Thankfully, somewhere along the line, I started to think, I gotta just sail through it. And as Louisa May Allcott said, “I no longer fear the storms, for I can steer my own ship.” So, I came to the text ok to sail through it. I’ve been sailing. The waves have pounded some. The water’s risen.
And as I sail, I think about the storms so many people face. I think about how I model what it means to sail through a storm. And about how we in the church respond to storms: individual and communal. Two weeks ago, I attended a workshop on multi-sensory worship for the 21st century, and the presenter spoke about the role of worship and the worshiping community. He talked about the worshiping community not being a place to avoid the storms of life but to invite them in.
What does it mean to invite the community to invite the storm in? Or even to simply name the stormy seas they sail?