Letter to parishioners, 19 February 2022

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

Much of the news over the last week has been dominated by the threat posed by Storms Dudley and Eunice. I have listened to some of the forecasting with an added interest this week as I have also been meditating upon Sunday’s reading from Luke’s gospel: chapter 8, verses 22-25 … the account of Jesus calming the storm as his disciples cried out in despair.

We live in a world that seems to be constantly battering us with storms of various kinds. We may enjoy moaning about the weather, but we are fortunate that storms like Dudley and Eunice are comparatively rare in the UK. There are many places in the world where extreme weather events are a regular feature of daily life. We might not like the rain, or the sun, but, despite all that is reported by the mass media, our weather is both temperate and moderate. We may be able to say: It’s not the way it was when I was young, but is that either the truth or relevant when viewed over longer periods of time? For many the last week has been uncomfortable, for a few it has been dangerous, but its exceptional nature only reminds us of our vulnerabilities and weaknesses as human beings.

In Luke’s account of Jesus’ mastery over the winds and the waves as they threatened the lives of the disciples we encounter a question that should be at the heart of our daily lives, no matter what ‘disasters’ may befall us: Where is your faith?  As the waves crashed around the boat, and as fear gripped the hearts of those closest to him, Jesus questioned the way in which his disciples faced up to that which seemed insurmountable. Yes, Jesus did command the wind and the waves to be still, but he also challenged them to confront their apprehension and fear with his telling question: Where is your faith?

Every day we are faced with challenges. Thankfully, few of those challenges are life-threatening, but their consequences may well be life-changing. Sometimes the very ordinary can lead us down paths that we could not predict, and that we would certainly not choose to tread. No matter what circumstances may lead us into the storms of daily life, Jesus’ question remains the most relevant: Where is your faith?

At the moment the world, our own nation, our diocese, our villages are being confronted with different ‘storms’. Whether those ‘storms’ are financial, societal or personal, we are called to approach them in faith. As we struggle to find our own ways of coping and conquering, Jesus gives us a different way … the way of faith.

We will soon be entering the season of Lent. We will be journeying with Jesus through stormy times as he approaches his brutal death on the cross. In the coming weeks we will, time and time again, see our Lord and Saviour standing firm in faith as the wind and waves of human life break around him. His strength is rooted in an unshakeable faith in his loving Father in heaven. Let us pray that our faith in the same loving heavenly Father may be just as strong.

With every blessing to you all,

Revd Stephen