Matthew 8:23-27 (NRSV)
Jesus Stills the Storm
23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 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. 27 They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
This was shared with me this week. I pass it on for you….
WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT …
I heard that we are in the same boat. But it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship can be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine is optimal: moment of reflection, of re-connection. Easy, in flip flops, with a whiskey or tea. For others, this is a desperate crisis. For others it is facing loneliness. For some, a peace, rest time, vacation. Yet for others, Torture: How am I going to pay my bills?
Some were concerned about a brand of chocolate for Easter (this year there were no rich chocolates). Others were concerned about the bread for the weekend, or if the noodles would last for a few more days.
Some were in their “home office”. Others are looking through trash to survive.
Some want to go back to work because they are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine. Some need to break the quarantine to stand in line at the banks. Others to escape. Others criticize the government for the lines.
Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it, some are not sure their loved ones are going to make it, and some don’t even believe this is a big deal.
Some of us who are well now may end up experiencing it, and some believe they are infallible and will be blown away if or when this hits someone they know
Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worse is yet to come.
So, friends, we are not in the same boat.
We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.
And each one will emerge, in his own way, from that storm.
Some with a tan from their pool. Others with scars on the soul (for invisible reasons).
It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, more than looking, seeing.
See beyond the political party, beyond religion, beyond the nose on your face.
Do not underestimate the pain of others if you do not feel it.
Do not judge the good life of the other, do not condemn the bad life of the other.
Don’t be a judge. Let us not judge the one who lacks, as well as the one who exceeds him.
We are on different ships looking to survive. Let everyone navigate their route with respect, empathy and responsibility. (Unknown author)
As I was reading this I thought of the number of people who have said to me “I don’t have it as bad as others” as they dismiss their own pain. I thought of my friend, a long-term care Chaplain in Minnesota who is coordinating and providing on-site spiritual care for 250 residents, who apologized this week for being tired during a conversation. I thought of the man who continues to sit outside a local store, in hopes of people helping him out during the crisis, and the families at the school who are being provided with rice and eggs, donated by another local store. All of our boats ARE different.
And I trust that Jesus is in ALL of those boats – right there with us in the midst of the storm. Even as the winds blow and the waves threaten and we fear that we are perishing, Christ is there reminding us to keep the faith and offering us peace.
If you are struggling to see that, which I know is true for so many of us, pray that he might reveal himself to you. I will be praying for you, too.
God, no matter the boat we are in, help us to trust that you are with us in the storm. Fill us with a sense of your presence and your love. Grant us peace. Today we pray for our sisters and brothers, each who are in their own boats. Help us to have eyes open to see one another and hearts filled with compassion as we recognize that while our situations may be different, those differences do not need to create barriers to reaching out and showing love. Be with all of your people, O God, that we might weather this storm together and look to the future with hope. Amen.