Coveting Calm

“…he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him…” – Luke 8:25 (NRSV)

Jesus’ power to calm the storm is often remarked upon metaphorically. We speak of him as the one who guarantees what little peace we do have. We center in his life. We ground ourselves on the ground of his being. Even if we are not the personal relationship kind of believer, when bad things happen—like a friend being deported or bad test results—we find our knees.

Today I am thinking about the hurricane season and about the courage of so many people who have lived through so many storms, in the American South and in the Caribbean, as well as in Indonesia or the Philippines. There is nothing metaphorical about a tsunami.

How does Jesus calm us in the increasing number of severe storms our worlds are experiencing? By letting us admire the courage of people who come through the big blows. By giving us neighbors to collaborate and commiserate. By making us environmentalists (even if for shallow reasons, like personal safety and loving our couch so much that we can’t imagine it being ruined).

Maybe this passage about going to the other side of the lake, falling asleep in the boat, and then waking up to trouble all around could wake us up too, to be ready for the storm.

Great fear, like of hurricanes or bad news or injustice, might just be the thing we need to scare us into a pattern of prayer, one that teaches us the muscle of calm long before we need it.

Grant us your power, Calm One, to be calm, before there is another disaster, as well as during it.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.