Sermon Sunday 20th Feb 2022 Social Justice Sunday

On Thursday night, around midnight, I was still awake, as I often am about that time, with my thoughts, with my prayers. It’s a time I like, the stillness, the thought that most other people around me are sleeping, at peace.

Outside though, the storm was rising, wind moaning in the trees, and I could hear the waves on the shore, as we often can here on Sark when all else is quiet.  And as the wind rose, I was suddenly aware of how safe I was, how I enjoyed the sounds of the coming storm. I was reminded of times in a tiny tent on some of my bicycle tours, when, pitched carefully, I could lay and hear the rain and wind at night on the taut material stretched above me, the lightning illuminating the whole tent for seconds at a time, and again feeling safe, because I knew I had a good tent, and that it was well pitched.

But in that sense of safety, then, and on Thursday evening, was very present the knowledge that others are not. Those without the luxury of a warm house or even a well-made tent, and in a wider context those who were not in a safe and stable country or a place they could call home. And those at sea. And it was a time when those concerns become a conversation a prayer with God.

Inevitably, of course, the storm turned my thoughts to the reading from Luke today, and the Psalm we read, which I’d been thinking about on and off all week.

The disciples were no novice sailors, they were experienced fishermen, most of them. So, the storm must have been pretty bad for them to be panicking the way they were. Maybe Galilee’s version of a storm Eunice, and they were in the middle of it, fearing for their lives.

Somehow, Jesus was sleeping though it all. Exhaustion probably, from the healing and preaching- Luke had said in our reading last week that power poured out from him- perhaps it drained him of his human strength.

He’s awoken, and with a few words brings calm.

And asks of those with him “Where is your faith”

And their only answer was incredulity- “Who is this man?”


Two questions. “Where is your faith?” And “Who is this man?”. Luke was a clever man, his literary skills don’t just ask this question in the text of the story, they ask these questions of the reader. It’s why we call it a gospel, the good news- Luke is telling us the good news by getting us to discover for ourselves just what that good news is through the narrative.

Let’s start with “Who is this man”. Are we impressed enough yet in our reading of Luke by the teachings, the miracles and now the power over creation to now realise that maybe this is not just a man- after all, no other man can do these things? Or do we, like the secular world around us often does, attempt to find some rational explanation some natural phenomena to explain why those things happened then, but don’t seem to now?

 Or do we reign in our incredulity and then read the likes of Revelation 4 and unravel in the complex imagery that this Jesus, this God is immensely beyond anything we could possibly imagine, and our minds are filled with wonder and awe?

I would hope you’ll go with the latter. Because then the divinity, the true nature of Jesus becomes crystal clear. God’s son, sent to earth, because God loves everything about his creation and, incredulously, treasures each one of us.

So, who is this man? A man, or the son of God? Believing the latter is live changing- believing that is being saved from the stormy seas of life, the howling wind of greed and discontent, the lashing rain of hate. The pounding waves of despair and self-hatred, the stinging spray of criticism and distrust. The consequence of our own selfishness. Amongst all that, even when we fear for our very lives, our sanity our self-worth, Jesus brings calm. He rebukes the storms of life and brings you to the harbour of God’s love.

Maybe a little like the sense of safety I felt in a fragile tent in the middle of a storm. The storm can rage, but in God I am safe.

So how come, if we believe Jesus is not just a man, (which as Christians I hope we do), so how come, like the disciples we still insist on trying to shake him awake when we find ourselves in the midst of a storm?

Where is your faith? Jesus asks the same question now, just as he did of his disciples, and yet they then asked the question “Who is this man”.

But we know who the man-Christ is, we know what he did, his death, his resurrection. We know the blessing of his Spirit. We know the journey of his church; we know the history of our faith.

And yet, still, in the storms of life we doubt that immense certainty of faith and question that love is enough against all the tearing wind of hatred, injustice and intolerance. And we fail to truly believe that his peace is something other than the peace of the world. And we fail to steer the fragile ship of our church into the persistent wind of secularism and faithlessness, and the gospel founders in our own lukewarm faith.

There are times in our life when we need that sense of safety, the calm that Jesus brings, times when we call for help and Jesus rebukes the world and stills the storm. But there are times too when we have to trust that in those storms, God is in control, that the ship of our church is safe no matter what the storm brings, because Jesus is journeying with us and that when he asks, “Where is your faith”, instead of asking “Who is this man” we can reply “Our faith is in you”.

For if we can truly do that, from our heart, with all our mind and body and soul and strength as we say week in, week out in our liturgies, then when he asks us to step out of the boat into the stormy seas alongside him, as he later did for Peter, we will not look down into the frothing waves, but keep our eyes fixed on him, to follow him and proclaim his saving gospel to those who struggle in the seas of life.

“Where is your faith?”, Jesus asks of you, his disciples. What, I wonder will be your answer to him?