Weekly Words of Wisdom – April 29, 2020

Last Sunday, Rev Jen used as the text for her sermon the familiar, but never old, story of Jesus calming the storm. You remember how it goes: Jesus asleep in the stern of the boat as the wind whipped up the waves, which began to swamp the boat. The disciples, panicked and fearing for their lives, woke him up and yelled, “Don’t you care that we’re about to die!”  And the record says Jesus “rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And there was a dead calm.”

I’ve often wondered, and I invite you to wonder with me, if Jesus were to come to me today and say, “Peace!  Be still,” what would that mean for my life—for your life—right now?  Especially in these days of sheltering in place and avoiding close contact with those who are important to us, days of growing anxiety, fatigue, fear, and loneliness, can you hear Jesus say to you, “Peace! Be still.”? It will mean something different for each one of us, but maybe that’s what each of us needs to hear, in his or her own life, right at this moment, in the midst of the darkness and the storm that is brooding, or blowing, across our lives: “Peace!  Be still!”

Back in the 14th century, Julian of Norwich, an English mystic, lived through the Bubonic Plague which struck her city three times.  Carts, loaded with dead bodies, would roll by her window. She welcomed those who were caught in pain and fear and offered them a listening, compassionate heart.  She herself suffered right up to the moment of her death. But, in spite of it all, she was able to write the well- known words; “…all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well…”  And then, this: “These words, you will not be overcome, were said insistently and strongly, against every tribulation which may come.  He did not say: You will not be troubled, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted; but he said: You will not be overcome.”

In this day of our corona virus, in these days of loneliness, and anxiety, and fatigue, we desperately need to hear all of this—“Peace! Be still.” “You will not be overcome.”  “All will be well…and every manner of thing will be well…”

Rev. Sherm Skinner