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Sunday Devotion: 20 June 2021, Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday Devotions

Peace! Be still! Quiet the storm within

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main Readings: 1 Samuel 17. (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49 or 1 Samuel 17.57-18.5, 10-16; Psalm 9.9-20 or Psalm 133; 2 Corinthians 6.1-13; Mark 4.35-41 [Job 38.1-11; Psalm 107.1-3, 23-32]

Supplementary readings: Psalm 9.1-10; 1 Peter 2.9-17; 1 Samuel 17.57-18.5, 10-16 or 1 Samuel 17.(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49; Psalm 133 or Psalm 9.9-20; Mark 5.1-20

“ ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ ” (Mark 4.40)

Storms can be terrifying. I was a bush kid born during a drought and can remember my first storm! I reacted to the lightning and thunder by hiding under the kitchen table terrified with my dog! As the storm grew outside, my fears intensified within. Fear, like a storm, sometimes has the power to engulf me.

This week’s Gospel describes a ‘windstorm’ and the disciples’ fearful reaction. Fear could be described as a storm within. Only God has authority over nature, as Jesus demonstrates; however, Jesus also indicates that faith has power over fear: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Jesus speaks to the windstorm as if it’s a demon (cf 1.25). ‘Satan’ (meaning ‘adversary’ in Hebrew) attempts to prohibit Jesus’ ministry of bringing in God’s Kingdom (1.13, 8.33). In my life, fear is the adversary that easily can take away my faith. Too often, my initial reactions are based on fear, rather than responding in faith.

Faith, which is a gift from God, has power over fear. When embodied, faith emanates peace and stillness. Rebuking fear through the command of “Peace! Be still!” disempowers fear and allows the Word to keep growing within.

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