Weathering the Storm 070512
What makes a person turn to God, and what makes a person drift away from God? Some might say that a personal crisis makes people turn to God, when they reach out in desperation and pray for some miracle, or sign or assistance, and God was there for them. But when the crisis is over, they (we) sometimes forget what God has done. This is rather like being a ‘fair weather friend’, and loving God only when God delivers miracles or stuff, or when we need help desperately.
I observe however, that the Mennonite, and the Anabaptist denominations generally draw people to God by including them in the community of Christ, and when people drift away from God, calling them back by inclusion in the community of Christ. For some denominations, there is first a church, and then sometimes there is also a community that arises around it. For Mennonites, I think, it is the opposite. The community arises first, then a church rises from it.
Psalm 107 is about coming through the storm, with God at our side. The selection from Job is brutal and sad as Job talks with sadness about the time when God was still with him, and the selection from Acts talks about the excitement around Paul as a group of believers cannot sleep because of their excitement at being together, and they talk and laugh and pray late into the night (so late that young man asleep on a windowsill falls out).
Make a community today, and pray for peace
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Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
1O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
2Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble
3and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
23Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;
24they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.
25For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity;
27they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end.
28Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;
29he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
31Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
32Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
29Job again took up his discourse and said: 2“Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me; 3when his lamp shone over my head, and by his light I walked through darkness; 4when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent; 5when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me; 6when my steps were washed with milk, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
7When I went out to the gate of the city, when I took my seat in the square, 8the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged rose up and stood; 9the nobles refrained from talking, and laid their hands on their mouths; 10the voices of princes were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved; 12because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper. 13The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. 14I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. 15I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. 16I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger. 17I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.
18Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix; 19my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches; 20my glory was fresh with me, and my bow ever new in my hand.’
20After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the disciples; and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left for Macedonia. 2When he had gone through those regions and had given the believers much encouragement, he came to Greece, 3where he stayed for three months. He was about to set sail for Syria when a plot was made against him by the Jews, and so he decided to return through Macedonia. 4He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, by Gaius from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. 5They went ahead and were waiting for us in Troas; 6but we sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we joined them inTroas, where we stayed for seven days.
7On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul was holding a discussion with them; since he intended to leave the next day, he continued speaking until midnight. 8There were many lamps in the room upstairs where we were meeting. 9A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground three floors below and was picked up dead. 10But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11Then Paul went upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he continued to converse with them until dawn; then he left. 12Meanwhile they had taken the boy away alive and were not a little comforted.
13We went ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul on board there; for he had made this arrangement, intending to go by land himself. 14When he met us in Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15We sailed from there, and on the following day we arrived opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos, and the day after that we came to Miletus. 16For Paul had decided to sail pastEphesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; he was eager to be inJerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.