God’s Mysterious Ways

Mark 4:35-41

I received a memo from God this morning. It said, “This is to remind you that I work in mysterious ways.” God works, present tense,is working right now, this moment, being actively involved in our lives. This directive tells us that the architect of the universe, the hanger of stars, the painter of pastels, the creator of aardvarks and jelly fish, of microorganism and macrosystems, the God of laughter and tears, joy and despair, this God still has his hand on the tiller of the universe and is charting our course by her moral compass.

The way in which God guides us will seem mysterious to us, for all human learning gathered together from the beginning of time is not but the size of a mustard seed compared to the infinite wisdom of God. If all the strength and wealth and accomplishments of humankind, from every time and every nation, were to be gathered from the beginning of time, it would not even produce a ripple in the ocean of God’s abundance.

And that’s basically what Jesus was trying to get his disciples to understand out there on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had just spent the whole day describing what the kingdom of God is like to all who would care to listen. But as new and interesting as these concepts may have been, Jesus knew they were going in one ear and out the other. A storm arises. Be reminded that at least three of these disciples were experienced fishermen, had spent the last 30 years of their lives learning the ways of these waters, so when this storm broke, they did everything their experience had taught them. They trimmed their sails, set their bow into the waves, put their boat in irons, balanced the ballast, bailed like crazy, but to no avail. These experienced men knew all was lost, that their fates were sealed. Of this they were certain and no one could tell them differently.

So Jesus had to show them, show them what he had been talking about all day. He showed them there was one more powerful than they whom the wind and waves obeyed, that God works in mysterious ways

and maybe you don’t know as much as you think. The miracle here was not that God calmed the wind and the waves, peanuts for the architect of creation. The miracle is found in the disciples’ last words, “Who is this?” This question showed a crack in their otherwise rock solid certainty, a crack which opens up the possibility that there may be something out there beyond their understanding or control, something that acts of its own volition, with unfettered extravagance and power.

*****

Here at Wesley, we have been gifted with an endowment fund    from the generous faithfulness of members of our church, both past and present. The comment has been made that, without these gifts there would be a ‘For Sale’ sign up on our church. Really? Firstly, we had no idea these gifts were forthcoming and I believe they came to us through the mysterious promptings of God in these people’s lives. But moreover, are we, who have worked in the church all our lives, so convinced that we know how it all works, that we are certain the ship is sinking? A little sad really that a people who profess to believe in an eternal God, master of the universe, a God who has created and IS creating, would not make room for the possibility that this God could calm the seas of our financial storms.

*****

I have, in this past week, had cause to stop and pause and reflect on the people God has sent to us in this congregation whose skills we have needed during this point in our history. There are many people of our church who are mysteriously turning tragedies into blessings for themselves and for this church, who witness for us that there is a God and this God still loves us and is doing mysteries things for us.

It has been said that all one learns from getting older is how much you really don’t know. That the more you learn, the more incomprehensible and mysterious you realize it is.

*****

As you come to this table this morning, let all that go and kneel before the one who really does have it all figured out. In the bread broken and the wine poured, see how God could take even the tragedy of death and turn it into the gift of new life. God signed off on that memo this morning by saying “Be still, and know that I am God.”

 

 

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