Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield
Sunday 31st January 2021
Not a good week foe me. I fell ill last Sunday and after checking my symptoms went for a Covid test on Monday, which came back negative. But all that means is that I had something else, and as I am on the vulnerable list we have self isolated, which I am doing now. At least I am feeling a lot better than I did, spending the first four days in bed with no energy to do anything at all. Not even enough energy for a zoom meeting, I have had to apologise and leave. I also slept through the BBC local radio service on Radio Leeds this morning, only heating that it was being led by a country and western musician, and having the presenter say afterwards that the Johnny Cash song was good. I am still suffering fatigue.
Covid has been on the news this week. The UK has reached 100,000 deaths from the disease this week, higher than anywhere in Europe, but is vaccinating at a rate well above that of EC. We have been asked by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to mark the tragedy of reaching 100,000 deaths by praying each day at 6 pm. The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said that when we pray it comes back to us to be the answer to that prayer and do something.
Sam, a student was leading this weeks service, starting with Psalm 93:1–5, which included, “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty.”
The reading this week was from Mark 4:35–41. “Even the wind and waves obey him.” were words that stood out to me.
Vicar Mike preached, sanding in church showing scaffolding in the chancel area. Decorating is continuing in the lockdown. Mike mentioned his fear of heights, and that they would not get him up that high scaffold. Fear can be shown in a fight or flight response. But more often than often what we fear does not happen. In the Gospel reading Mark is making three points about Jesus. If you haven’t already, please read the passage, linked above, before reading the rest of this blog post, praying that God will use it to speak to you.
Mike continues with his three points:
1 Jesus is God:
This is the shocking news that Jesus is God. Sudden storms happen regularly on Lake Galilee. Mark refers to this as a a furious squall; seasoned sailors were frightened. The sea was associated with destruction and evil against God. The only one who can control the sea is God. Yet through this storm Jesus is asleep in the boat, so the terrified disciples wake him, and he says to the storm Jesus ‘be quiet,’ same word spoken to demon in Chapter 1 of Mark’s Gospel. Mark is drawing a deliberate comparison here. The result? Now the disciples are frightened of Jesus. Jesus is doing what only God can do.
2 Jesus is with you when you are sinking:
Do you get any comfort that Jesus is in the boat. He is asleep but he can rest because he knows he is safe in God’s hand.
Sometimes it feels like God is asleep for you.
“Why are you asleep?” you ask. “If you love me you would not let me go through this.”
He could ask us, “Why are you afraid, where is your faith?”
What is the object of our faith, who is your faith in? Jesus never promised to keep us from suffering, in this life it will not always work our but Jesus is in the boat with us. He will never leave of forsake you.
3. Jesus stilled the ultimate storm:
This passage has echoes of the story of Jonah. Both were in boats, both stilled storms, Jesus by speaking to the wind and Jonah by jumping over the side. The difference is that Jonah is running away from God’s call, Jesus is running towards God’s call and will face it full on. He says that someday he is going to calm all storms. Jesus took the full force of the evil in r world on the cross and in rising broke its power. The disciples in the boat said, “Don’t you care,” but because he has stilled the ultimate storm he is with us in whatever we face now.
ike concluded with these words:
‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;Isaiah 43:1-2
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.