21 January 2019

Welcome to Monday’s Podcast – My name is Tom Finnemore, I’m part of the team here at STC and I’ll be picking up the baton from Dave Saxton as we continue this week through the Gospel of Luke.  Our reading today is Luke 8: 22-39 but today I’ll read verse 24-25:

The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.’

REFLECTION:

Over the Christmas period we had a Sunday off and so visited family in Manchester. A few days before we set off they sent a message inviting us to their church. ‘Come and see what is a really important part of our lives…’ I was pretty miffed. I spend Sundays in church anyway and a Sunday off is a great opportunity to chill out. So we set off early (to get to their church) and as we drove over a very foggy Snake Pass I felt a gentle check in my attitude – which wasn’t a great attitude – and to instead pray a simple prayer: “Lord, may I hear you speak today.”

When we arrived at the church, the preacher opened with this question: ‘Who do you trust?’

He was quoting Psalm 146: ‘Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.’

It’s a powerful question.

Let me ask you a question: What is your worst fear?

Spiders? Flying? Health failing? What could happen to your children? Failing exams?

In ancient times there were all kinds of superstitions attached to the sea. Particularly around storms. It was believed that a storm was the result of a cosmic battle underneath the water between good and evil.

So the storm in today’s passage exposed fear in the hearts of the disciples – even though there were experienced fishermen on board who had been through many storms, they believed they were going to die.

What do we do when we get that diagnosis that isn’t good or you Google your symptoms and read something rather unhelpful? When your child comes home from school and you realised they’re being bullied, or you just didn’t get that exam mark you hoped for?

We freak out.

I do!

At the moment I’m learning about what means to trust God. I’m 39 and I’m Ordained – so I feel I should know better – but I realise that I don’t always trust Him. But I believe he’s inviting me on a journey of trust.

When storms hit – or have hit – I often try and fix it myself.

In this story Jesus does not freak out – he sleeps soundly.

The things that panic me or threaten me – don’t panic Jesus. If discipleship is about becoming like Jesus, which we think it ism and we’re wanting to grow as a church, then if Jesus ain’t freaking out over stuff – then perhaps he wants to teach us a few things.

For example, a few weeks ago we booked a holiday. First time ever we’ve been so organised. We found a lovely house in France. In the words of Peter Kay: we booked it, packed it.

We couldn’t believe what a great deal we’d got. Stunning place and we were so thankful. The kids were all excited.

The next day I get an email from the owner to say that he’d sold the house. It was written in a strange way and I immediately thought it was a phishing thing and our deposit had been pinched. As I’m reading the email a text from a friend arrived to say that her husband had had a heart attack.

I felt the storms brewing – somebody I respect dearly was ill. I thought I’d lost a deposit and a little voice, the inner critic that said ‘that whole nice house in France thing – that was never yours anyway – too good for you mate.’

In the storms, what I’m learning is, I have a choice.

Freak out and fix it – frantically find another house in France.

Or wait.

I prayed to God, in fact I declared – ‘I believe you are good and the Bible says you have good things for your children – I choose to put my trust in you today.’

Today I will choose faith – today I will choose to believe that you are good.

Jesus sleeps through the storm. Why?

He’s the Lord of it all. He spoke creation into being. All the physical elements including the weather fall under his command.

If he can calm a storm then he can sort a holiday, right. If I trust him enough?

A week later I get a random facebook message from someone offering us a beautiful house in Cornwall.

I felt the Lord say ‘see… you can trust me…’

Trust is a choice.

Today, whatever you face – whether it’s a glorious day and you’re walking on sunshine – choose trust. If it’s a challenge – trust the one who holds the whole thing together.

PRAYER:

Jesus, help us to trust you! Teach us what it means to trust you with our lives.  Amen.

READING: Luke 8:22-39

One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.’

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’

‘Legion,’ he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him.