The Eye of the Storm – a sermon on Psalm 46 by Rev. Clinton Berends, read by Br. Fred Bruinsma.
Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ, The sea has often been portrayed as being synonymous with chaos. Biblically the stories of the flood, the drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, the crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites have all reinforced the idea that the sea is chaotic. It doesn’t always appear to behave rationally or predictably. One minute it’s calm and flat, the next a pounding maelstrom. Is it any wonder then that Jesus’ disciples on the Sea of Galilee, whom we just read about in Mark 4, are frightened when the storm breaks out on the lake and their little boat is thrown about so badly it threatens to be swamped.
On dry land, on solid ground, we find it relatively easy to plot courses and make plans to reach a set point. Using our GPS, or failing that, maps and compass or landmarks, we can navigate with reasonable certainty in a landscape that hardly changes over decades. The ocean is another matter however. With no visible reference points or fixed landmarks or structures from which to take our bearings we would soon become disorientated. Without our trusty GPS or the stars by night to guide us where would we be?
The sea then could easily be a symbol of the times we live in. Nothing stays the same, everything is continually changing and its changing so fast! In the past it seems we knew where we were going and what to expect like picking our course through an unchanging landscape. We plotted our course through life with the full expectation that we would achieve our goals and reach our destination. But not anymore. It’s like the ground beneath our feet has turned to liquid. Nothing stays the same, everything is changing.
Technology is advancing so fast that when we purchase the latest digital devise, it is obsolete by the time we get it home and start to use it. Medical science is progressing in leaps and bounds giving hope to thousands of people where there was none before. To us older folk, it feels like only yesterday that men first walked on the moon but since then the Voyager spacecraft has left the solar system and is hurtling way beyond Pluto into deep space. My iPhone has more power and capability than my first desktop computer and my pocket calculator has more computing power than that which controlled the first lunar lander.
You get the picture! Daily, literally and figuratively, bombs drop from the sky and change the landscape in which we live; rapid change, a lot of it good but unfortunately some, like society’s morality, not.
We live in a liquid landscape, don’t we – a sea of change and unpredictability. So the question we face as we embark into another new year, will we sink or swim in this sea of change. Will we be able to keep afloat let alone make headway in such an unpredictable climate? Will we as a church community even be able to tread water, let alone swim ahead with confidence in 2021? These are very real questions we face.
In looking at Psalm 46 we will notice four things:
1- a world of chaos
2- the eye of the storm
3- therefore I will…
4- the invitation to look