June 23, 2024
1 Samuel 17. 1-49 — David and Goliath.
Psalm 9. 11-20 God hears the poor and the afflicted. God remembers the needy.
2 Corinthians 6. 1-13 — Now is the day of salvation. … We have endured hardships, treated as being poor but having everything… Open wide your hearts.
Mark 4. 35-41 — Jesus calms the storm at sea.
The story has become a euphemism for “underdog vs. Big Guy.” But the story is really about force vs. grace. It’s not just that David is small but scrappy; it’s that he trusts in God, and God’s grace, not his good shot with a sling, that saves him. Likewise Jesus is victorious over the power of evil not because he’s small but scrappy, but because the love of God that is alive in him is stronger than the power of evil—and he trusts that.
Now is the day of salvation. Today is judgment day, and God’s judgment is mercy. This moment is when God showers you with grace. You don’t have to wait till you die. You’re already saved. So get on with living a holy life.
As with the story of David, and Goliath, Paul’s point about enduring hardship is not just that we’re stronger than we look but that God sustains us when human powers, structures an values don’t. In fact we don’t have any power at all—but God has power through us. We have “the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left,” which means we don’t have regular human weapons or powers.
Of course all this is in the context of Paul trying to justify himself to readers who are a little put out with him because he challenges them. (How heroically he struggles!) But the real issue isn’t Paul’s authority. It’s God’s grace, and the power of relying on that grace instead of human values, judgments, or power structures. It’s not just to Paul, but to God, that he encourages them to open wide their hearts.
Jesus says “Let us go across to the other side.” Sit with that a moment. The other side… of the lake, into Gentile territory… The other side of the Red Sea (often the role of the sea of Galilee in the gospels)…The other side of the tracks… The other side of the aisle….. The other side of the parable, another way to look at it (Mark was just saying how Jesus taught in parables)… The other side of the veil between the seen and the unseen worlds… The other side, the shadow side of your psyche… Jesus is always leading us to the other side….
Imagine your worst nightmare. Call to mind your most troubling fears. Your deepest terror. Imagine it as a small boat in a big storm. Get in the boat with the disciples. Feel it. Now imagine this: in this moment of terror and despair, Jesus is… asleep in the stern of the boat. Snoozing as if he’s being rocked in the cradle. Talk about a non-anxious presence. Because he’s not afraid. Jesus is with you. Jesus grants you peace, not from far above your troubles, but from right in the midst of them. Either you’re going to be just fine, because Jesus will not abandon you but is with you with his miraculous powers even in the worst of life’s storms—or you’ll die with Jesus, which is what we’re all baptized to do anyway. So you can’t lose. This is faith: not to have some beliefs about Jesus but to trust him when it’s scary.
Call to Worship
Leader: God of love, you hear the cry of those who suffer.
All: We cry out with all who are in anguish.
Gentle Christ, you walk with those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
We walk with you among those who suffer.
Holy Spirit, we often despair as we face the troubles of the world.
We open ourselves to your presence, so we need not fear.
Calm our hearts, and give us courage to serve with you.
Leader: God of Creation, we are in awe of your work.
All: Thanks, we cry, and adoration!
God of mystery, our fears swirl about us.
Save us, we cry. Have mercy!
God of grace, your healing sustains us.
Bless you, we pray, and we worship you.
Leader: Creator God, the sea is so wide and my boat is so small!
All: Be good to us.
Loving Christ, the storms are great and our hearts are weak.
Be with us.
Holy Spirit, you are the wind and you are the waves.
Give us courage.
God of life, bring us through the storm.
Give us faith.
Come, Spirit of Life, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia.
God of love, the storms of life frighten us. But you are in the boat of our lives with us. Speak to us and give us peace. Call to us, and give us courage. Awaken us with your Word, so we may serve you without fear. Amen.
God of mercy, your Word alone has power to create, power to save, power to heal. Amidst the howling storm of society’s anxieties and the cries of our inner fears your voice comes to us, soft and steady. Help us to listen and be still, to trust with all our hearts. Speak to us, God of life. Amen.
God of all Creation, sometimes the storms frighten us and we cry to you. Sometimes our challenges are great and we tremble. Sometimes the storms are around us, and sometimes they are within. Speak your word of peace to us, so that we may endure our storms and face our difficulties with peace and faith. We open our hearts to your grace. Amen.
(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)
God of Peace, your Word calms storms.
You are our peace, even in chaotic times.
Though we are afraid, Jesus is at rest
in the little boat of our hearts.
Speak your Word now. We will be still, and at peace.
(For two readers.)
Reader 1: Jesus says: Let us go over to the other side.
Reader 2: The other side… of what? The tracks?… The argument?
The unseen? The shadow side of myself?
The rowing is hard. I am tired.
Come, to me, you who are weary, and I will give you rest.
The wind is against me, and I am afraid.
The wind blows where it will. So it is with those who are born of the Spirit. [….silence…]
The waves are high. How can you be asleep?
Peace, be still.
Do you not care that we are perishing?
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain.
But if it dies it bears much fruit.
We have gone down into the deep baptismal waters
and now we are born again.
Even the wind and the seas obey the Beloved. We too shall follow.
Response / Creed / Affirmation
We trust in you, God of Mystery, Creator of all that is and all that is to come.
We follow you, O Christ, voice of God, Word made flesh, love embodied. Your love and healing cast out demons and called forth justice. You died in and rose in the peace of God. Your mercy calms the storms in our hearts and calls us into a new community of hope.
We live by your grace, Holy Spirit, your life in us that is not afraid, but at peace with all that is. Trusting in the gift of forgiveness, the power of resurrection, the mystery of eternal life and the gift of our unity with all living beings as the Body of Christ, we live in peace and nonviolence; we work for justice; we fearlessly share your love with all. In your Peace, Holy One, we live as disciples of Christ for the healing of the world. Amen.
Creator God, you are the sea and the wind; you are our boat, you are the mysterious depths and the far shore. We give ourselves to you.
Loving Christ, you are the peaceful presence, you are the calming voice, you are the One who is in the boat with us always. We trust you, and we turn to you.
Holy Spirit, you are the wind that carries us onward, even when we are afraid. You are the power that raised Jesus from the grave, and that rouses us from death. You make us one Body; you give us trust in your grace; you give us courage in all things. Grant us the faith to continue in our journey with Christ, to love and serve the world, trusting in the power of forgiveness and resurrection and the present reality of eternal life. Amen.
We give our hearts to God, Creator of all, whose Spirit is in the wind and in the calm, in our little boats and in the seas about us.
We follow Christ, who is with us in the storms of life; who holds the power of all Creation in his hands; and who gives us peace by his resurrected presence. He bids us to trust, to love and to wonder in his name.
We live by the power of the Spirit, who gives us peace in all our difficulties and courage in all our endeavors. Since even the wind and the seas obey, we too obey God, the Holy One. We devote ourselves to accept the grace of God, to minister with Christ, to live resurrection, and to serve in love, for the sake of the healing of all Creation, in the name of Christ. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Trusting your saving presence and the peace of your grace, we go into the world to heal, to do justice and to proclaim your good news, for the sake of the wholeness of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will. Send us into the world with trust in your presence and courage in our hearts and hands, to go where you lead us, to love as you enable us, to serve as you command us. In the name of Christ, our Safety and our Peace, bless us. Amen.
Eternal God we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Take them and do your will with them. Through our giving and our service, reach out to those who struggle through the storms of life and offer rest and safety to them. Help us to be a source of peace, present to them so that they may know your love. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
(Click on title to view and hear audio clip on the Music page.)
In the Boat (Original song)
(Refrain) I am at peace because Jesus is in the boat.
I am in the boat with Jesus.
Sometimes my Savior says, “Peace, be still,”
and with a word he calms the sea.
Sometimes my Savior says, “Peace, be still,”
and I know that Jesus is talking to me. (Refrain)
Jesus says, “Please help me spread my love.
It will he hard along the way.
But though the waves pound you from above
I always will save you so you can obey.” (Refrain)
When I am sinking or feel afraid
I see him sleeping peacefully.
If I am here because I have obeyed
then how could I sink with my Jesus with me? (Refrain)