Sermon for 20 June 2021

Church Service for June 20, 2021
from Churchill and Gilford United Churches
Sermon Changing the Whether Mark 4: 35-41

I am sure some people would think it was sacrilegious to make a joke about the chicken crossing the road based on the story of Jesus crossing the lake so I won’t do that; although I do wonder why Jesus crossed the lake. Anyway this is a simple story. Jesus needed to get across the lake. He was tired so he got in a boat and fell asleep. A storm came up, he calmed it and everyone got to the other side safely.
Simple enough but there are several points to it.

The best way is to take it apart in sections and then see how they apply to ourselves.
The first point is that Jesus wanted to get to the other side of the lake. He wanted to make a move. He knew that he had spent time on the one side but there were people on the other side that needed him. He wanted to use his life, not just park it.
Often faith has been seen as an inhibitor of action. So often we have heard “Thou Shalt Not” but Jesus wanted to demonstrate that faith that says “Thou Shall”. For Jesus faith was a motivator not a restrictor of life.

The next thing that happens is that a storm arises. The disciples thought that they were safe because they had God with them. We often have had a similar belief. The idea is often that, if we follow God no harm will come to us. It is not true but people lose faith when calamity strikes; when their shield breaks.

The disciples were no different. They lost faith in the journey. In desperation they called on Jesus to save them from this turmoil. We do the same. When times get bad we call on God to “save” us.
Recently I saw a sign that said “We will always have prayer in school, as long as we have exams”.
How often do we call on God in desperation?

Part of that desperation reveals itself as anger. When things are not going the way we want we get mad. Often we blame God. The disciples yelled at Jesus “Don’t you even care if we all drown?” Jesus appears to stay asleep. I often wondered how he could sleep through the storm and all the water pouring into the boat but I realise he was not asleep. He was giving the disciples a chance to figure things out for themselves.
He was allowing them to begin their journey of faith.

Finally Jesus wakes up and calms the storm. They seem amazed. Are they amazed because he can do something they can’t? Or is it because he is doing something that no one can do? Or are they amazed because he has pulled them towards a self that they never imagined.

This story is not just about the disciples in the boat with Jesus. It is about all of us. It begins when we decide that we want more from life. We find that something is missing and life is no longer fulfilling. It starts when we have a desire to make a change toward improving not just ourselves but those around: when we see a place where we can serve God.
It starts when we say “Someone should do something about that” and we realise that someone is us. That is when the journey begins.

But that journey isn’t always easy. The answer may be obvious: everyone needs clean water; we need to put an end to warfare; we need to care for nature; we need to repair the argument between us and someone else; everyone in the world needs to be fed.

The answer may be obvious but the journey may be difficult. Suddenly the trip runs into obstacles. You may find people who are vehemently opposed to your goal. You may find situations that are incredibly frustrating due to red tape and protocols.

It is at the point when you begin to question if this is the path God wants you on. It may cause you to question your faith and your course of action. Like the disciples murmuring among themselves whether or not this was a good decision to head out across the lake. You question if your new life was a good decision.

Like the disciples we then get angry. God has pushed us too far. We are being asked to do something that we don’t feel we are capable of. Suddenly we are facing situations that terrify us and out of our own sense of low self-esteem we panic. We get angry at God.

It is similar to a child who is pushed by their parent. The parent knows that they are capable but the child is scared and so reacts in anger.

We also feel as if we are on our own. Jesus seems to be asleep in the boat. We desperately want God to finish the task but there is no answer to our prayers.

It takes a very patient parent (here is where I put in the part about this being Father’s day). It takes a very patient father to sit back and watch while the child learns slowly their ability. It is easier to say “Here let me do that” but the child learns nothing if we do it for them. (so long as they put the tools away and don’t lose the 10mm wrench.)

God is not asleep at the wheel, rather God is helping you determine new limits. You only discover your limits by pushing the old ones.

Finally Jesus wakes up and calms the storm. God is not taking over but rather showing you that there are no limits. Jesus performs a miracle. He did it because he knew he could.
For the disciples that may not have been such a great event as it would be for us. We are so steeped in scientific worldview that we have a hard time believing that anyone could change the weather. But they can.

The greatest obstacle to that is our belief that we have reached our limits. This is where your faith comes in. Have faith that there are no limits. Jesus says to the disciples “Why are you afraid? Do you have no faith?”
Too often we safeguard ourselves by saying “That can’t be done” and that justifies our doing nothing. We are the ones that draw the line on what we can accomplish. We are the ones that say the situation cannot be fixed. We are the ones that say it can’t be done.

We need to be challenged. We need to ask God for enough faith to not just cope but to change whatever needs to be changed.
There are no limits to what you can do.
All things are possible with God.
Go out and still the storms you find.

PRAYER God, so often we hear about how the world is changing around us. So often there is fear of the unknown but with you there is only reassurance and faith. Help us to move beyond a sustainable faith to a dynamic faith. From survival to abundance. Help us to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to helping others. Help us to reach beyond the limits when it comes to the possibilities of love. God you are limitless. Help us to move beyond the boundaries that we and the world have put in place. Thank you for first loving us and showing us the way.
We pray for those who need special care this day.

Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil. for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. forever and ever Amen

SERVICE June 20, 2021
Announcements Happy Father’s day
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Thanks to helpers

Opening Prayer
Hymn – For the Beauty of the Earth
Scripture Mark 4: 35-41
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn I feel the Winds of God Today

Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen

Info about contributing

The traditional way is to send a cheque via mail to one of the treasurers.
Make the cheque out to:
Churchill United Church
send to Agnes Cole at 226 Valleyview Dr. Churchill, Ont L0L1K0
or Gilford United Church
send to Doris Coborn at 1468 Gilford Rd, Gilford. L0L1R0

An Alternative (and better) way is Etransfer
(This method is faster, cheaper and cleaner. If you don’t know how to do it, the bank or some young kid has instructions)

Send the Etransfer to
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill

No security question

Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks