Worship Helps for Pentecost 5
Christ in the Storm
Worship Theme: The world is a confusing place. We often feel it does not deal fairly with us. We go through anger, even terror, when we don’t understand the turmoil around us. But in Word and sacrament Jesus reminds us of his presence. He forgives our foolish self-centeredness because of his holy book. He opens our eyes to the rescue he has won for us. Thus he gives life in this trouble-filled world new hope and new purpose.
Old Testament: Proverbs 30:4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know! 5 "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
1. Compared to God, how smart and strong are you?
2. If every word of God is flawless, what should you believe?
Epistle: Acts 27:13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. 17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. 21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from
Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22
But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be
lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the
God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, 'Do not
be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously
given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25 So keep up your
courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."
3. In short, what happened to Paul, Luke and 274 others?
4. Why would God let Paul and the others on the ship go through such an awful two weeks, then shipwreck them? (see 27:20, especially)
Gospel: Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41 They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
5. What miracles did the disciples see?
6. Why did he rebuke them?
1. Only God gathers up the wind in the hollow of his hand. Only God wraps up all the waters of the world in his cloak. You are not smart or strong at all compared to God. Trust him, not yourself – not at all.
2. Since every word of God is flawless, even when it seems to make no sense, you should believe every word of God. You should do everything God commands you.
3. Paul, Luke and the other 274 people went through a terrible storm and shipwreck in the
4. God must have wanted all 276 people to give up all hope of being saved from the storm. In a similar vein, Martin Luther wrote, “no man thoroughly humbled until he knows that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, devices, endeavors, will, works, and depends entirely on the choice, will, work of another, namely, of God alone. […] When a man has no doubt that everything depends on the will of God, then he completely despairs of himself and chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work; then he has come close to grace, and can be saved.
5. The disciples saw Jesus calm rough waters just by talking to the wind and the waves. Here was another example of Jesus’ divinity, as he did what no other man can.
6. The Twelve should have realized there was nothing to be terrified about, with Jesus nearby. Also, Jesus had promised to make them ‘fishers of men.’ They had not done so yet; so they could not drown. Jesus has to keep his promises! Faith focuses not on what we see around us, but on what God has said. Does your faith rest on Jesus and his work, despite fear inside you and turmoil around you?
Putting your faith into action
How does a hurricane praise God? Not many years ago extreme drought in the Northeast during one summer was alleviated by the restoring, if heavy, rains of one hurricane remnant after another marching up the east coast. As creator and preserver of the world, God balanced things out by his rules established for weather. Those interviewed during the storms often said, “It’s all in God’s hands.” Whether or not they believed it, they were right. As Lord of all creation, God can control even the weather. It’s a reminder of his power. It’s a reminder of his care. As stewards of God’s world, we can’t do much about the weather, but we can manage the results and, in awe, praise the God whom even the wind and waves obey.
As soon as the Holy Spirit has begun His work of regeneration and renewal in us through the Word and holy Sacraments, we can and should cooperate through His power, although still in great weakness. This cooperation does not come from our fleshly natural powers, but from the new powers and gifts that the Holy Spirit has begun in us in conversion.
Paul clearly and eagerly encourages that “working
together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in
vain” [2 Corinthians 6:1]. The converted person does good to such an extent and
as long as God by His Holy Spirit rules, guides, and leads him. As soon as God
would withdraw His gracious hand from that person, he could not for a moment
keep obeying God. But ‹if anyone would take St. Paul’s words in this sense—›
the converted person cooperates with the Holy Spirit the way two horses draw a
wagon together—this could not be allowed in any way without damaging the divine
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)
For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. I worked harder, though it was not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Cor. 15:10) – Formula of
Solid Declaration, Article II, Free Will, paragraphs 65-66
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treach'rous shoal.
Chart and compass come from thee:
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild.
Boist'rous waves obey thy will
When thou say'st to them, "Be still!"
Wondrous Sov'reign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore
And the fearful breakers roar
'Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on thy breast,
May I hear thee say to me,
"Fear not! I will pilot thee."