WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
SEA SUNDAY JULY 2019
Today is Sea Sunday and I thought because we live so close to the sea,
we should spend a little time today Looking at the church’s connection
with the sea and it’s care of those connected with it.
Many long for the summer so that they can enjoy spending time
by the sea. Always we have to remember that while the seaside
can be a place for fun and relaxation, it can also be a life threating
place and needs to be respected.
Today of course it is also not safe because the storm of the COCONA VIRUS IS AN EVER PRESENT, THREAT,
The bible talks in the language of the sea needing to be tamed.
If we go right back to the beginning, in Genesis we read:
‘The earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness……’
That was until God began creating. God created order out of Chaos!
The Israelites were not sailors they tended to regard the ocean as something fearful, if not terrifying, especially when the ocean rose up in ferocious storms.
In the O.T. we have the imagery of that mysterious creature of the deep, the Leviathan which came to be the symbol of all the forces of chaos that might threaten their lives, whether foreign invasions, natural disasters like earthquakes, or the breakdown of social order.
We all know what our Leviathan is today!
When Jesus calmed the storm on the lake of Galilee, it connected Him with that story in Genesis. We see Him being equal to God with powers over nature. As God’s Son He has power over the natural world.
So let’s look at Jesus’ adventures on the sea.
In the Gospels, there are two incidents where Jesus shows his power over the sea. He calms a raging storm of wind and waves (Matthew 8:23-
in the midst of a storm (Matthew 14:22-
These are not just simply a “display of power.”
Like all of the miracles, these two draw upon some aspect of Yahweh’s (GOD’S) activity in the Old Testament and Israel’s messianic expectation..
These two Gospel stories tie into an Old Testament where
Yahweh tames the watery chaos.
Jesus act of calming the storm shows that the healer and teacher also controls the elements of the created order—specifically, the sea.
Putting the sea back in its place and keeping people from harm is an unmistakable allusion to God’s work in the Old Testament.
God tamed the watery chaos in Genesis 1, bringing the swirling, chaotic, primeval waters under control. Psalm 104:7 puts it this way: “At your rebuke, the waters, this “defeat of watery chaos” is also seen in the flood story and the crossing of the Red Sea: divine deliverance from a watery threat.
Rebuking the raging sea and saving those on the boat forges a theological connection between Jesus and the mighty acts of Yahweh. The chaos-
Jesus seemed to spend a lot of time around the sea of Galilee. Not only that, amongst those He choice for disciples were four fishermen. Peter himself who went on to be leader of the early Jewish Christian, was a fisherman.
We are reminded that Jesus calls us all to be fisher men for Him. What does that mean?
We are to be Jesus body searching out followers to be His disciples. As fisher men for Jesus, we have storms to over-
Waves of problems threaten us in life and sometimes we are afraid of failure and that we can’t go on. Jesus is watching out for us as He watched out for His disciples.
He still has power to calm storms in whatever form they appear, including those that rage within.
Jesus says those words to us today, ‘Peace be still! Do we listen?
THE SEA TODAY
Today of course, we are engulfed in the storm of the Corona pandemic.
THE WAVES of the whole situation wash against us.
There are ROCKS of problems we have to negotiate and to find a way around.
What is our role as representatives of Jesus today?
I like to think of the church as our Spiritual life-
The older church building like St. Paul’s have the insides of their roofs made of wood in the shape of an upturned boat.
It reminds us that we are in Jesus boat, sailing through life, and He is in the boat with us.
We are the crew and what a motley lot we are. But then, so were the first disciples. It was not what they were that made Jesus choose them but what He knew they could become if they shared their lives with Him.
It is the same for us also.
Do we spend as much time as we should with Him?
With a life-
Some of us do try to do this. It is when we make our own choices that the storms may threaten to drown us.
THE CHURCH AS GOD’S LIFE-
Perhaps we find a time of respite when we can think of ourselves as survivors of a ship wreck now resting on the shore.
Once again, the poem Footsteps comes into my
thoughts. It is again a reminder that even though
we cannot see him he is still with us. Whether we
are in the heart of our storms or resting a while
on the shore, Jesus is with us.
Let me remind you of the poem:
With which member of the lifeboat crew do e identify
Are we always on the look out for those in trouble?
Are we responsible for the maintenance of the church
Are we in charge of resources to equip the crew with
everything they need for their work?
Are we in charge of the spiritual first aid equipment
supplied by the church leaders and manufacturers?
Are we ever responsible for steering the church through rough times during our lives?
Are we in fact one of many who have ourselves been rescued and saved from great troubles that have beset us and now been welcomed to join the crew in their work?
Do we has a pastoral role in caring for all who share our lives with us?
Of one thing we may be sure, Jesus our Captain has work for us all and together we are responsible for making sure, God’s life boat is always there prepared ready and waiting for all in need of it’s help.
If ever we feel that our problems threaten to drown us, then let us call out to Jesus who will reach out to us to heal, to save and to give us peace.
I’ll end today with my version of the 23rd. psalm which many
of you may already know:
The Lord is my captain He is always at the helm.
He makes me to rest in the harbour of His love.
Over the seas of life, He leads me, with calm waters always by.
My soul is restored again, and He makes me travel through
He fills my table with good things in the presence of those who are against me.
He anoints my head with oil that overflows with healing.
Goodness and mercy all my life will surely follow me
and in the harbour of His grace my dwelling place will be.
Photograph by Canon Peter Brooks