Blessings Cooksville Family!
Below is the link to this week’s service:
As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.
And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.
And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.
Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
June 13, 2021
Sunday Worship Service
Prelude: Andante K 311, movement 2 – Mozart
Opening Video: Father’s Love Letter
Welcome & Greeting:
Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn: “O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing”
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Lords Prayer
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm
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!”
Solo: Our Father – Matthew 6; music by Michael Head
Jesus can always calm the storm. With just one – simple phrase – Peace, be still – Jesus will put to rest whatever it is that’s raging around us and causing us to worry.
When the oceans of trouble rise – and the thunder of doubt roars – we can trust the captain of the boat to not only see us through the squall – but to also ensure smooth sailing.
That’s the point of the story – right? That’s why there are songs – and paintings – and sermons – all built around those three simple words – Peace, be still – Right?
Except the captain is at the back of the boat asleep. Except he accuses the disciples of having too little faith after they wake him up.
They obviously trust in his power – they have faith in Him enough – they go to Him when the sea is too much for them. When the storms of life are raging – we like the disciples – stand by Jesus. Isn’t that faith?
So why does Jesus ask – do you still have no faith?
In our story today – Jesus says it’s time to go to the other side. The other side is almost always a scary or undesirable place – or at least we think it is. Think about the phrase – The other side of the tracks – it conjures up the image that there’s a dividing line – this side is good – the other side is bad.
In politics – if a colleague has crossed to the other side of the aisle – that means they’ve joined the opposition the people you are there to fight.
When going to camp as a kid – they always told us that it was dangerous and scary on the other side of the lake – they wanted to make sure we all stayed on our side. Now of course – as I got older I realized the reason they wanted to keep us on the one side of the lake was that the girls camp was on the other side – not exactly scary – but dangerous none the less.
It seems that there’s always a boundary we’re taught not to cross. We’re taught the boundary is there for a reason – for our protection – for our privilege – for our purity. It’s a wall – a fence – a law – an attitude – or maybe – a demon filled sea.
In the gospel of Mark – it’s been said that the sea is a metaphor for demonic and chaotic forces – forces that stand against the Kingdom of God – and it’s a boundary – literal and metaphorical – between the Jew and the Gentile.
And it’s through this sea – filled with powers that want to undo them – Jesus wants to cross over to the other side – because the Good News of the Gospel is never for those on just one side of any border.
In their attempt to cross to the other side – to bring hope and healing and good news – the evil forces within the sea – lying in wait under the boundary like a troll under a bridge – stir the waters into a horrible whirlwind of a storm. It’s enough to terrify even the most veteran sailors and fishermen – it’s never easy to take the Good News of the Kingdom to the other side.
Evil takes notice when God is on the move. Jesus knows this – but he chooses to leave everything in the hands of the disciples – and curl up for some needed sleep in the back of the boat. He’s not too worried – because as he taught in the parable before they set off in their boat – God’s power in the Kingdom is at work even while we sleep.
Jesus trusts the disciples to lead him to the other side – through the sea. A chapter earlier – when he commissions the disciples – he gives them the power to cast out demons. They have the power to rebuke the demons that stir up the wind and waves. They just don’t have the faith.
Years ago – back at the fringe of my memories – my mother taught me how to do laundry. She made me help when she was doing the families clothes – and she showed me how to sort my clothes – and how to use the machine. I’d seen her do it several times before – but she made sure to walk me through the steps – so I could do it myself.
A while after that – my laundry was piling up.
“Mom – I need my clothes washed.”
“Okay – go wash them.”
I did the smell test on a few shirts and I thought I could last a bit longer – at least until Saturday when my mom would normally be doing the family washing.
“Mom – I don’t have anything clean to where when we go to Aunt Joan’s tomorrow.”
That’ll get her to do my laundry – throw the whole – can’t go to dinner with the family in dirty clothes – reasoning at her.
“Okay, well the laundry machine is free.”
I didn’t want to do my laundry. I wanted Mom to do my laundry. Maybe I was scared I’d ruin my clothes. Maybe I didn’t trust I really knew what I was doing and would ruin the machine. Maybe I just didn’t want to have to do it myself when there was someone else perfectly capable of doing a good job of it.
“But you’re my mother. You’re supposed to do my laundry for me.”
“No, I’m your mother. I’m supposed to teach you how to do your laundry because I won’t always be here to do it for you.”
The disciples – commissioned by the Son of God to cast out demons – cannot – or will not – rebuke the wind and the waves of the demonic sea.
Did you notice they don’t even try? They’re too busy calming themselves to calm the storm. They’re too busy casting out the water in their own boat to cast out the demons around it.
Jesus is in the back of the boat. He’ll save us.
It’s not the last time they fail in this way. When Jesus descends from the Mount of Transfiguration – he meets a distraught father whose son is possessed. The commissioned disciples cannot cast out the demon – so Jesus again – laments their lack of faith and rebukes the demon.
The disciples know Jesus can cast out demons. They have faith in him. They’ve seen it time and time again. They just don’t know they can – or they aren’t willing to try.
Do you still have no faith – the disciples believe in Jesus enough to leave everything behind and follow him. They trust Jesus with their lives – they trust in His words – and they trust in His power – but they don’t trust in his power – in them.
Jesus calls the disciples to follow him – which means He believes they have what it takes to be like Him. He gives them power to proclaim the good news – to cast out demons – and to heal every kind of disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1). He even tells them that the gates of hell cannot overcome them – but they are still afraid.
In Matthew – chapter 14 – when Jesus comes to the disciples walking over the water – striding across the demonic boundary – He tells them do not be afraid.
Peter – bless his heart – tries to trust in the power and promises of Christ to him – and he walks out onto the water. He trusts that if Jesus says he can do it – then he can do it. He trusts the power and the promise that the evil of the deeps will not overcome him – but the demons of the sea begin to stir again.
He begins to fear. Fear causes doubts – and he doubts that the power in him is strong enough to stand above the draw of the deep forces of evil. So – he begins to sink. Ye of little faith – says Jesus – Why did you doubt?
I think that too often – we miss-understand this lack of faith. Peter doesn’t doubt Jesus’ power to stand on the swirling sea – and he doesn’t doubt Jesus’ Power to sustain him. No – Peter doubts his ability to do it on his own – He doubts his OWN power. Ye of little faith.
We of little faith. Why do we doubt? We believe in Jesus enough to worship Him. We trust Him with our lives – we trust in His words – and His power to give life – and to cast out sin and death – but we don’t trust in His power in us.
We are given the power to cast out demons – but we stand trembling in their midst instead of rebuking them. We stand on the shore – fearing the storm that’s sure to brew if we try to cross to the other side with the love of God because – those – people – on – that – side – are not worthy – or not deserving of the love of Christ – or they just plain scare us – at least that’s what we’ve been told.
Will we weather the storm if we try to cross that boundary? Maybe it’s just best to stay on dry land.
We of little faith – why are we so afraid?
Every day – I see another panic-filled article about the decline of our society – the social system – the justice system – the economic system. And people of faith cry out with the disciples in the boat – teacher – don’t you care if we drown.
And not just the secular systems – how about the perceived decline in our churches – we’re terrified the church isn’t going to survive the storm. We look around for Jesus and wonder if the church is going to die while He’s napping in the back of the boat.
Doesn’t He know that membership is down? Doesn’t He know the budget is broken? Doesn’t He know we’re taking on water – teacher – don’t you care if we drown.
He knows our prisons are too full – and children’s stomachs are too empty. He knows we craft laws that protect our right to discriminate while there aren’t enough laws to protect abused women and children. He knows exactly the toll of the storm.
But I’m not sure we do. We’re too busy trying to calm ourselves – we don’t seem to have much left to calm the wind and the waves that batter other people’s lives.
We don’t believe we have the power to stand above the forces of prejudice – hatred – bigotry – violence – abuse – and terror.
So – we do not stand – we do not rebuke. Instead – we huddle down in the bottom of our boats – and watch the squall be stilled by someone we had to wake up.
We’re just disciples in a boat – we say. We follow – we worship – and we sing and pray – that’s all. He chose us for this – to be His church – His singing – praying – and preaching church. If a storm comes up that keeps us from going to the other side – well – then it’s up to Jesus to calm that storm if that’s where he wants us to go. That’s the way we’ve come to think.
Is that faith? Jesus doesn’t call his disciples to merely follow. He calls them to lead – to heal – to proclaim – and to cast out. He asks them to have faith in the power he promises – and the work He commissions them to do for the Kingdom of God.
Whether that is spreading some seed and letting the power of God go to work while they sleep – or rebuking demons and watching the power of God go to work while Jesus sleeps. Faith is trusting the power of God is always at work – in Christ – in the church – and in you.
Christ calls and commissions all the people of the church to be the exorcists of the demons – and healers of the sicknesses – that plague our communities.
Is there discrimination – Cast it out. Is there division – Heal it. Are there painful words – rebuke them. Are there broken hearts – Bind them. Are there storms that would keep us from proclaiming that nothing can separate us from the love of God – Silence them.
But isn’t that Jesus’ job? If He wants us to go to the other side – He ought to make sure we can get there – right! Is He still asleep in the back of the boat? Jesus should rebuke the demons – He should calm things down – Why is He silent in the midst of this storm? Why won’t He do anything?
I hate to admit it – but my mother’s wisdom might be the most profound in this message – I’m supposed to teach you how to do your laundry because I won’t always be here to do it for you.
There used to be a comic strip called B.C. – it was about the exploits of prehistoric people – I haven’t seen it in years – but I remember one quite vividly – two cavemen are sitting together under the night sky – when one says – Sometimes – I want to ask God why He lets so many bad things happen in the world.
The other asks – so why don’t you ask Him?
The first one looks sadly serious – and says – Because I’m afraid God would ask me the same question.
When the disciples told Jesus the crowd who had been following him was hungry and had nothing to eat Jesus said – You feed them.
They took what little there was available – five loaves and two fish – and began to pass baskets around to the crowd until everyone had had their fill.
Did the disciples feed that crowd or did Jesus?
The answer – of course – is yes.
Please join me in prayer.
Almighty God, you are powerful, and you never sleep nor do you slumber. You are here with us, and you give us power to do great things. Help us to use the power that you give to work with you to bring hope and peace and joy and love to this broken world where demons still run amok. Help us to cast them out and proclaim the kingdom of God that is even now at hand. We pray in Christ’s name.
Hymn: “Come And Find The Quiet Center”
Hymn: “Will You Come And Follow Me”
Benediction and Commissioning
Postlude: Great Is the Lord – Michael and Deborah Smith, arr. Jack Schrader