The first weekend in November is always one of my favorites. It is our bazaar weekend, so there is always a buzz in the air (could be sugar-related) and the past few years we have also welcomed new members, as well! It is just a weekend where we celebrate our community of faith, which is wonderful. Although you will notice that between bazaar-related announcements in worship, communion, All Saints roll call and the liturgy for new members … the sermon has to be a short one!
Rehoboth Congregational Church
November 4, 2018
The Calm To Our Storm
On Friday morning, while we were setting up for the bazaar at Goff Hall, I mentioned that it was both New Member Sunday and Communion Sunday this weekend and someone kind of sighed and said, “Oh, it’s going to be a long service isn’t it?”
Don’t worry; I think this scripture kind of speaks for itself, so I will be brief.
When Bruce and I got married, my sister said, in her toast at the reception, “Bruce, you are the calm to Sarah’s storm.”
And then she had to pause because 200 wedding guests were laughing too loudly to hear what she had to say next.
To this day, I still do not know what was so funny.
But this scripture made me think about what she said – what it means to calm the storm in someone’s life. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for the disciples in that boat battling a storm all night long. But then there was Jesus in the light of the early morning, walking towards them, telling them not to be afraid, getting into the boat with them so that they were not alone and then calming the storm.
Have you ever felt as if the storms of life are just raging around you? That you are in a season of life that is winning? That you just cannot catch a break? That you cannot handle one more loss or crisis or conflict?
I have felt like that a little bit this year at the church. As a community, we have experienced a lot of loss this year; I have presided over 15 funerals this year alone. And while some of those services were for people in the wider community, many of them were our people. And I know, even beyond those losses, people are going through some really hard things. And, as a country, we are struggling; we are struggling to find unity and practice the kind of hospitality and love and acceptance and grace the Gospel calls us to.
And so I think this scripture serves as a reminder that when the storms of life are raging around us, God is not that far away. God is walking towards us, telling us not to be afraid, assuring us that the storm will cease, that we will get through the darkness of the night and that a beautiful light will shine boldly upon us. God will be with us; God will calm the storms and carry us to safety.
And I might be oversimplifying light right now. It might not be this easy; in fact, I know it often is not. But I have to believe that, in the end, God will be the calm to our storm.
What a wonderful time it is to be a member of this church; to participate in a tangible sign of this witness to God’s presence in our lives. Because amidst the losses and the challenging times, I have watched this church rise up and be the presence of God to those in need. I have seen people show up with meals, send cards and give rides. People have prayed for one another, cried with one another and celebrated the small victories along the way. We have said to one another, “I love you. You are not alone.”
And today our church family will officially grow.
I want you all to remember today that by being here – by coming to church, by worshipping God, by strengthening your relationship with God and by participating in the life of this community – it does not matter how fierce the storm may rage around you, you will feel a sense of calm. You will see a light slowly illuminating the darkness of the night. You will feel God’s presence. You will be carried to safety.
Thanks be to God!