The service this week will focus on the unique ability of the spiritual path and particularly the way of Christ to help us survive the worst adversity and find peace in the midst of any storm.
The disciples were in a boat trying “to cross to the other side,” trying to take their ministry of love and justice and peace into more hostile territory to spread the all-inclusive realm of God among gentiles. A huge, deadly storm arose, the boat was starting to sink, and Jesus somehow slept through it until they turned and cried to him to save them.
Jesus responded with loving action. He calmed the storm and brought them peace and joy. The disciples were amazed at the power flowing through him, and how by turning to it their whole world was transformed.
We all have our personal storms, the times when life feels out of control with busyness or transition or grief or anxiety or depression, and clearly in this new era of incivility when we try to cross to the other side and engage with people who see the world differently we can encounter violent waves and blasts of hostile wind.
Even within a community as loving and beloved as our congregation, we always have people at different developmental stages and spiritual states and psychological conditions because those naturally evolve over the course of our lives. How can we hold our own lives together and live together as one?
The unanimous voice of scripture and the mystics and all traditions is that the spiritual life can help us weather inner and outer storms and cross to the other side of any seemingly impassable divide.
We will look at how and why and what we can do to get the help we may need.
We will read from Psalm 107, II Corinthians 6:1-13 and Mark 4:35-41. We will sing two hymns set to the same tune written by J.S. Bach—a tune that captures calm in the midst of a stormy sea, and one that is in the old Pilgrim Hymnal but not in the Methodist, so we may need to relearn it. The first text will be “Give to the Winds Thy Fears,” and the second a new text written for this service, “Our Boat Is Not the First.” We also will sing the beloved tune Finlandia, “Be Still My Soul.”
The choir will sing two African-American spirituals, “Kum Ba Yah” and “Woke Up This Morning,” plus “My Heart Is Ready.”
Pianist Annemieke McLane will play pieces by J.S. Bach, Chopin and Beethoven. And don’t miss her concert this Friday the 22nd at 7:00 PM! It is a truly amazing, deeply moving repeat performance of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and mostly Beethoven.