“Bloom with Intention: Gentle Jesus and a Mighty Storm” by Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian

July 1st,2021 Categories: Weekly Letter

Disciples,

This week we welcome in a new month and with it an opportunity to bloom in new ways. We’ll Bloom with Intention this month, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this word and the discussions around it lead us. As Rev. Stephanie takes her sabbatical this month, you’ll be receiving the weekly newsletter stylings of me, Kelsey Creech, your Resident Seminarian.

We’ll be worshipping together online this Sunday, and hearing a sermon from our very own Meghan Janssen. She’ll be preaching from the book of Mark, telling one of three accounts of a story where Jesus calms a storm. While Jesus, whose humanness causes him to need rest, sleeps soundly in the back of the boat, unfazed by the storm because his God-ness gives him control over it, the disciples, who do not seem to possess the divine ability to control the weather, panic. Let’s read together this passage from Mark and pay close attention to Jesus’ response to their anxiety:

35 With the coming of evening that same day, Jesus said to the disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other shore.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took Jesus in the boat in which he was sitting. There were other boats with them.  

37 Then a fierce gale arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat so much that it was almost swamped. 38 But Jesus was in the stern through it all, sound asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said, “Teacher, doesn’t it matter to you that we’re going to drown?”  

39 Jesus awoke, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be calm!” And the wind dropped and everything was perfectly calm. 40 Jesus then said to the disciples, “Why were you so frightened? Have you no faith?”  

41 But they became filled with fear and said to one another, “Who is this, whom even the wind and sea obey?” 

[Mark  4:35-41/Marcos 4:35-41]

Jesus rebukes the wind, but Jesus does not rebuke the disciples.

In this passage, I find comfort that my anxiety and fear around things like the DELTA variant of Covid-19 and the lack of accountability of known sexual predators are not rebuked by Jesus. Jesus reminds us that he is in control gently. He asks lovingly, “Why are you frightened?” rather than chastising me for holding anxieties about living in our world as a young, queer woman, and I am comforted by the knowledge that even as the storm scares me, it does not scare God. God rebukes the gale, not those blown about within it.

Beloved, we can hold our fears and anxieties about life alongside our faith in an omnipotent, benevolent God. Jesus, with sleep still crusting his eyes, calms the storm and reminds us God is in control, but he does not fault us for feeling afraid. As we grow in faith, our concerns may change, but anxiety is one of many fully human emotions which will never fully vanish. We can know God holds the world and still be troubled by what happens in it.

It’s rare that we take the time in church to be fully honest about what burdens us, but Beloved, the space to bring those concerns is absolutely the Church! I encourage each of you to email me or Stephanie Wilson if you have a specific burden you’d like lifted up in prayer on Sunday mornings. Like the Disciples in our passage, we all feel better when we bring our fears to Jesus, and it’s the work of a faithful community to hold those anxieties together.

Wishing all of you a safe weekend, however you choose to spend it. See you Sunday!

Joyfully Yours,

Kelsey Creech
Resident Seminarian