The Chimes
Church Hill United Methodist Church
11 Church Street, Norwell, MA 02061 / (781) 826-4763 /
Pastor: Rev. Nicholas Perez

Summer Sunday Service 9:30 am
“One day [Jesus] got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And waking up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. Then he said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were terrified and amazed and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water and they obey him?”
(Luke 8:22-25, New Revised Standard Version)

Dear Church Hill Faith Family,

In this Gospel story, Jesus and His disciples are sailing in a boat across a lake when they are unexpectedly confronted by a fierce storm. Water begins to flow into the boat at an alarming speed. It appears certain that the boat is going to sink. A deep fear grips the disciples. They are in full on panic mode. They are convinced that this is the night when they will die.

And the disciples’ profound fear is warranted. They are stranded at sea in a rinky-dink boat in a monstrous, unruly storm. Like the disciples, we also must confront storms in the church, in our personal lives, and in the world which are legitimately scary and worrisome.

When Jesus asks the disciples: “where is your faith?” after he calms the raging waves, He isn’t minimizing the severity of the storm. Jesus isn’t saying that the storm wasn’t something to be afraid of. No, Jesus is asking the disciples how they could allow themselves to be consumed by their fear, to be held captive by their fear. Had they forgotten about the special passenger who was sleeping in the bottom of the boat? God in the flesh was their shipmate and yet they are acting as though they are all alone. And when we confront the storms of life, do we not often act the same way? Do we not often act as though we must face a tragedy or a setback or a threat to our wellbeing all by ourselves?

Will we succumb to the temptation to be overcome by despair and hopelessness when we are confronted by the storms of life? Or will we recognize that we are never alone, that the Lord Who calms the raging waves is always with us? Will we find strength in knowing that there is no storm which we may face which is more powerful than Jesus?

In Christ,
Pastor Nicholas