Preaching Resources

The 4th Sunday after Pentecost (June 20, 2021) By Chris Giesler

Assigned texts

  • Job 38:1-11
  • 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
  • Mark 4:35-41

This week our texts share the common theme of storms and their place in our lives. With this being the case, I will touch a bit on all of them.

First, our gospel lesson from Mark tells us about one of the six voyages that Jesus took with his disciples on the sea of Galilee. The first few chapters of Mark are a whirlwind of activity and busyness.  It seems as if Jesus wants to have some time away with his disciples, so they get in the boat, no doubt quite familiar to those who had been fishermen, and proceed to the other side of the lake. Perhaps Jesus was exhausted from all this activity, and he falls asleep in the boat. As Jesus sleeps, a severe storm whips up out of nowhere, causing even the professional fisherman to fear for their lives. In a panic, they wake Jesus wondering if he even cares for their lives. Jesus then immediately calms the storm but then questions the face of his disciples. Their reaction is that they still do not quite understand who this Jesus is. Do we?

Job’s life has been a storm lately.  The once-wealthy and happy man has now lost his money and the family that gave him such joy. He now has nothing. His three well-meaning friends have dispensed meaningless advice, so Job takes his case directly to God. Our reading from Job today contains God’s answer to Job, and here is the response: “Where were you when I created the world!” In other words, God is who God is. God’s wisdom and love have been woven into the mystery of creation, and we as humans can never completely understand how all of that works. Only God can control both wind and wave.

Our text from Paul’s Second letter to the Corinthians lists, in great detail, many of the storms that we deal with in life: hardships, afflictions, calamities, meetings, in prison mints, riots, labors, sleepless nights, and hunger.  But these are meant by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God.  This is how we are to meet the storms of life, knowing that Jesus the Christ is with us in the storms.

The truth is the most meaningful and life-giving relationships in life are not the ones that avoided the storms but rather the ones that endured the storms. This is the power of resurrection. After all, there can be no Easter without Good Friday.

So most of us can wonder where in the world God’s been through this pandemic. We have been through quite the storm. And while I do not believe that God caused this pandemic to teach us some lessons, I believe that we can make our world a better place for all people with God’s love and grace. What lessons have we learned about who was left behind? What lessons have we learned about who was most vulnerable? What lessons have we learned about caring for our neighbors? How has our mission in life changed as a result of these recent storms?