Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me. – Psalm 66: 20
We live in relationship with God by virtue of his grace and mercy. Our righteousness is grounded in what God in Christ has done for us. Alleluia. Our prayers are not rejected; his steadfast love for us has not been removed. Praise the Lord!
I also read this morning the stilling of the storm story from Mark 4.
We’ve been a part of a denominational church system most of our lives where there was affirmation of Jesus saying, Peace! Be still! and the disciples saying, Who is this that even the wind and waves obey him? There was seldom a confident assertion of Jesus saying to the disciples, Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?
I always preached (when I was preaching regularly) in those New Testament stories of Jesus teaching his disciples we’re in the huddle with them. We’re not the people of the land, those just following from a distance and not really hearing or seeing. We’re standing between Peter and John and learning like they were. The gospel writers made that available for us.
Yes, he spoke stillness to the created order that day, and the boat full of learners was safe; however, he looked at his disciples, learners and said they should have operated in a faith to not be afraid and to still the storm themselves.
We’re in the huddle hearing the play, getting instructions and not being ignorant of how the Kingdom of God manifests and creates an environment of grace and peace, truth and love, joy and life abundant.
We’ve heard what he’s said and we can try it out, bless our enemies and speak over their dead to raise them up and bless their children with words of love and signs of encouragement.
We’ve seen what he’s done and take what little resources there may be, thank God for them and use them to feed hungry, hopeless neighbors.
We’ve watched him and we can take a friend with us and lay our hands on a family member and command the cancer to leave in the name of the one we love and who taught us to not be afraid.
Yes, we’re his sisters and brothers in the huddle, around the camp fire, sitting beside him at the table, trusting what he says is the truth because he died for our salvation and rose for our justification. We’re his, and he is ours.
He will not reject our prayers or remove his steadfast love from us. Alleluia!