Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Matthew 8.23-27 (Week 13: Tuesday)

Listen to a reflection for DEL Week 13: Tuesday, on Matthew 8.23-27

Matthew 8.23-27          

When Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’


In 1998, the Christian composer, Margaret Rizza, set some simple words by the priest and author, David Adams, to music. That hymn has the prayer-like quality that we more commonly associate with the chants of the southern French community of Taizé.

At the beginning of the music, we are not offered the more normal speed direction of ‘allegro’ or ‘andante’; instead the single word ‘tranquil’ is offered.

The hymn is written to be repeated ad lib … we are being told to repeat it as many or as few times as we might want … or need.

David Adams’ words are these –

Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm;
still me, Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease;
enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

In November 2018, I went on the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Towards the end of our pilgrimage we were taken on a boat trip across the Sea of Galilee. With no warning at all, a strong wind blew across the land-locked lake. Suddenly the boat rocked and water splashed over the sides. For the briefest of moments we knew a fraction of the uncertainty that manifested itself as fear in the disciples.

As quickly as the wind gained strength, so it abated and calmed. The sun came out again and we saw the jetty where we would soon land.

There are many times in our lives when the wind suddenly gains strength and all of our certainty and confidence drains from us. It is in those times that we need words like those of David Adams to help us focus on the certainty of Christ’s power to bring calm and equilibrium back into our lives.

Sometimes the squalls pass quickly … perhaps, in those moments, the instruction to repeat ad lib will only involve four, five or six repetitions of those calming words.

At other times, the squalls quickly turn into storms, and may even escalate into hurricanes or tornados. Then we need that instruction to repeat ad lib, perhaps for days and days.

Whatever strategies we feel we may have to cope with the storms of life, too often we forget that Jesus is there with us.

So … why don’t you join me in memorising these simple words?

Then, when the storm strikes, we have a powerful tool for keeping us focused on the one who loves us and will always be with us, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Calm me, Lord, as you calmed the storm;
still me, Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease;
enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

First issued in 2020