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Storms Can Be Good – 160918

Call To Worship

Psalm 29  &  Luke 8:22-25

We worship this Sunday with the Storm. We sing with the winds, the clouds and the thunder. We feel the awesome presence of the cyclone, We connect with the stillness before the storm, as well as the fury of the winds and the aftermath that brings. Not only destruction but change, and renewal and even treasure. We celebrate God’s presence in the storm.

So, for a minute, in the stillness, we remember the weather events and the storms around us that have brought change.

We remember the inner storms that bring fear, loss, doubt, hope and renewal.

We remember the storms in our society – ‘return the Muslims’, ‘Cut back the dole’, ‘lock out the boat people’, – we hear the politicians and the prophets of hatred, division, and fear mongering say.

We see the dispossessed, the lawless, the greedy the plunderers and know that the storm is all around us.

And then we remember the creator of some storm events – seated above the waves, in the stillness, as close as our breathing, reminding us too to be still and know that God is God and we are not.

Today’s Message

You know when we think about storms we have a tendency to think of all the bad things – chaos, damage, death and obliteration of what was.

But it is not all bad. Storms can bring renewal, they can take away the clutter of the old, they can refresh and bring forth change.

One good thing that Psalm 29 alludes to is that they come to an end and thus there is a sense of restoration.

I’ve walked plenty of beaches too – to know that they can even bring forth treasure [you might remember the piece of green marble I have that was washed up on the shoreline on the island of Iona.

Storms that happen in our life too can bring forth change, renewal and even treasures.

In fact, we sometimes need that storm if we are to move from a rut we’re in.

Let’s consider the Lukan gospel reading for a moment.

Jesus provides us with a demonstration of his authority over the elements and in this case, over the storm.

But perhaps we should be considering inner storms he is calming here as well.

jesus-calms-stormJesus is taking the disciples, not just to the other side of the lake, but taking them to the other side – an unfamiliar gentile or foreign territory – full of demons and unbelievers.

They, like we, often cleave or trust in the old or familiar and fear the new.

Jesus was teaching a new way – a way that means we trust in him and advance to the new and leave the old behind.

Refugees coming out to a new land do that too. They are leaving the old behind because that is where the fear is and trusting in the new.

They like Jesus, are seeking to create a new way – not bound in the old and familiar – seeking a space where fear has no place.

We can learn much about Jesus through the striving of these folks.

Amen.

Our Message today was followed by a talk from Marty Richardson, Scripture Teacher in the Shoalhaven and refugee advocate and member of Welcome to Australia. As part of Christian surfers, Marty and friends run a Surfing with Refugees program in Gerringong. Marty is a member of the Gerringong Uniting Church.

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