O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:
open the doors of our hearts,
that we may seek the good of others
and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace,
to the praise of God the Father.
Psalm 33.1-5, 18-19
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
for it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
on the ten-stringed harp sing his praise.
Sing for him a new song;
play skilfully, with shouts of praise.
For the word of the Lord is true
and all his works are sure.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him,
on those who wait in hope for his steadfast love,
To deliver their soul from death
and to feed them in time of famine.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
When evening came, the disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.
I have never experienced the thrills and spills of sailing. I have crossed the Irish Sea, the English Channel and the Sea of Galilee when conditions have been decidedly ‘choppy’, but I have never been the one responsible for bringing the boat safely to shore … although I have been very grateful for those who do have that skill. Despite my lack of nautical expertise I do know, from experienced sailors, that weather conditions on open waters can be notoriously fickle: the proverbial mill pond can very quickly be transformed into a scene from Dante’s Inferno. I also know that situations arise where nothing short of a miracle can guarantee safety and survival.
Today’s reading leads us, alongside the disciples, to the brink of the maelstrom. Today’s reading also leads us into the calmer waters that surround and support those who have faith in Jesus.
Although we live on a small island, not many of us find ourselves battling against raging seas as we live out our daily lives … or do we? People talk of drowning in paperwork, being submerged in debt and other responsibilities, being overwhelmed by the pressures of daily existence. Many of us, at some point in our lives, feel as though we know only too well what it is to have wave after wave of fear-inducing and even life-threatening pressure beating against the fragile hull of the craft we call ‘life’. Sadly, not many of us remember to look through the raging storm in hope, in the hope of the all-calming presence of our risen and all-powerful Saviour, Jesus Christ.
As we journey through our days on this earth we often experience the terrors of the storm. Even when we feel becalmed we seem to have an innate need to seek out those bigger and bigger life-threatening tsunamis. But, even when we are most threatened and in the most dangerous places we too often forget the presence of the only One who can restore calm and order, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
As we sail through this life, let us pray that we may never forget Jesus’ presence alongside us. And, when the waves are breaking over us, let us strain to hear Jesus’ words: It is I; do not be afraid, as he brings our storm-tossed lives back to the safety of his heavenly harbour.
Prayers of intercession
Let us pray to God, who rules all things in heaven and on earth.
Fill the Church with the zeal of the Gospel, that your word may go out into all the world. With eyes fixed upon our Saviour, may your people never fail in faith.
Calm the storms that trouble the world. Give courage to the many in the world who are oppressed by fear of what seems to them strange or unknown.
When our daily work is hard, when our relationships become difficult, teach us to know where we must look for help. May we see Christ in the life around us and recognise him when he comes in unfamiliar and unexpected ways.
Have mercy on those who are battered by the strains of life and feel they are making no progress towards better things. Bear up those who sink beneath the waves of pain and sorrow. Bring them close to you in perfect trust.
Receive into your care the dead who have heard and trusted in your word. Have mercy on those whose faith was weak but in their lives sought to reach you.
We pray in the name of Christ who takes away our fear.
Prayer for the week
We give thanks, O God our Father,
for the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord from the dead:
for his victory over sin and the grave;
for his risen presence in our daily lives;
for his promise of life immortal with him.
Accept our praise,
and teach us day by day to live rejoicingly
in the faith of him who died for us,
and rose again,
and is alive for evermore,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.