Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stirred Up

“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  Acts 6:2B-4

The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”  John 6:18-20

Father, let us not be afraid to change the direction in which we are looking for happiness.  Just as your Son comforted his friends, send for your Spirit to comfort us and to renew our commitment to the tasks you assign to us.  Amen.

The natural elements make frequent symbolic guest appearances in John’s Good News.  Wind.  Fire.  Water.  Earth.   The wind blows where ever it may.  Sometimes, the Holy Spirit descends from it like a dove.  Other times, the wind whips up a frenzy. 

Although Jesus does not fully address the character of the Holy Spirit until chapters 14-16 of John’s Gospel, the sprint makes its presence known and felt in many places.  One of the ways this occurs is by the symbolism of wind. 

Today, not only did the wind physically stir up the sea and toss around the boat carrying the disciples but it also stirred up the emotions of the disciples.  They were worried about their mortal lives.  Would they survive being out on the Sea of Galilee in this storm? 

As the companion to the Holy Spirit, John presents Jesus to the men in the boat as the calming, peaceful influence.  He not only calms the seas but he calms the emotions.  The spirit may stir you up, but the spirit stirs you up to do the work that Jesus asks.  Do not be afraid of what you are being led to do.  Jesus worked hand in hand with the Holy Spirit to enable believers to accomplish God-given tasks.

Jesus’ response to the situation is to comfort the men in the boat.  “Do not be afraid.”  This is a phrase that we encounter dozens of times throughout the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  When Jesus no longer walks among the disciples, the Holy Spirit will take over the role of being the Great Comforter.

“Do not be afraid” becomes the pivotal first phrase that the women hear from Jesus when they meet him on the road to Galilee.  But it is not a new phrase.  It is a reinforcement of this theme that has been expressed over and over and over again and again in the Bible.  It works hand-in-hand with the first word of Jesus’ public ministry:  Repent. 

The spirit is stirring up the participants of the 130th Men’s Cursillo Weekend running through Friday.  Remember to pray and sacrifice for their comfort with your Palanca, by participating in Morning Prayer and the Closing. 

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