The Nativity of St John the Baptist

In the Bible the sea, the wind and the storm are seen as forces of evil and chaos which only God can control. But the storm can also stand for the trials and tribulations which the righteous suffer, and from which only the power of God can save them.
As Jesus and his apostles were crossing the lake a storm blew up. For a while the apostles managed. They remained in control – only just! Its a good feeling to be in control. Running the Show, things remain in our power- the outcome is in our own hands.
In these circumstances we convince ourselves that we have faith, even great faith.
The scene changes suddenly for the apostles when the storm rose, the boat seemingly on the verge of sinking, the apostles suddenly realise that things were out of their control. Things were beyond their powers. The outcome was therefore out of their hands!
We all know that to be out of control is not a pleasant experience – we get caught in a traffic jam – its annoying, frustrating. More serious cases are times of grave illness and / or tragedy!
To find oneself in such a situation is both humbling and terrifying. But it is precisely in times like this that we discover whether or not we have faith. We could at first think that God does not care about us and has abandoned us!
It seems the apostles felt like this – seeing Jesus asleep. Incidentally, the ability to sleep peacefully in the midst of a storm was to show perfect trust in God. What a contrast was Jesus’ faith contrasting with the ‘little faith’ of the apostles. Chiding them for their lack of faith, Jesus calms the storm.
For the early Christians this miracle was a very relevant one. The boat represented the Church, the storm – the persecutions unleashed on it by evil powers that wanted to wreck and divide it. They were filled with fear. To them it must have seemed that Jesus did not care. But then their faith rose to the challenge. It was enough for them to ‘awaken’ him with their prayers, and to have trust and faith in his presence, for the storm of their fear to be calmed.
Even though Jesus was with the apostles in the boat, the storm still struck. So, just because a storm strikes doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us. If we have faith, we will not doubt that he is with us, and we will turn to him in prayer, and know his help.
One of the greatest prayers ever composed was written by a French sailor. It goes like this: ‘Lord my boat is small and the ocean is great.’ This little prayer expresses everything. ‘Lord, my boat is small and the ocean is great.’
In the ocean of life may we never loose faith in each other , may we draw on each others God-given gifts, may we love each other as deeply as God loves us.
Love peace and joy to one and all

Dean Peter