23rd June 2021

23 Jun 2021 by Georges River Presbytery Admin in: Pastoral Thoughts


Sometimes it feels as though life cycles around through highs and lows and that, in these times, there is little stability. We are back into watching for daily news about Covid 19 infections, wondering if they are getting closer to where we are, worried about how our plans might be affected. It is hard to live like this and to know that we can’t just hide our eyes and close our ears because we have to act responsibly. That means we can’t pretend nothing is happening. At the same time, we don’t want to have to take too much on board. There was an old hymn that is rarely heard nowadays that said, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?” Changing the image, we hope that our house is firmly built on rock and not on the shifting sands. We might then also think of the hymn “Christ is made the sure foundation”. Sometimes having a melody as well as words in our heads connects with a different part of our brains and into our emotions. That is partly why being able to part of worship is important when we feel vulnerable.

Of course, our church services are about worship, about giving “worth” to God as God is due. It draws us into a space where we know that we can come, with all our stresses and silent concerns, and be held in something that enfolds us, that is so much more than we can conjure up for ourselves. Our worship reminds us that God is God, not just “something” we think of as being a more powerful version of ourselves. God’s presence is timeless. We return to ancient Scriptures and read of people’s interactions with God in their times and cultures. We learn of how the Church grew out of the transformed lives of those whom Jesus called to follow him and to live in his way. We know we carry this unbroken thread into our times and we are learning, always, how that thread indeed anchors us securely. Mark’s gospel has given us accounts of the terrified disciples in the storm-tossed boat while Jesus slept on a cushion. They couldn’t fathom how he could do that, and for them, at that time, his sleeping presence wasn’t enough. They had to wake him up so they could feel safe. He calmed not just the storm, but them, and they landed safely. As their journey with him brought them to Jerusalem, to powerful fear and horror, to death and then to resurrection, they learned that Jesus had never been unaware of what they were going through. He brought them through to peace, the peace that would carry them ahead as they faced innumerable challenges.

This is the peace we hold out to one another in our worship, the peace that is beyond our understanding, just as many of the challenges we face are beyond our understanding.  We may be tempted to fight against the difficulties, the changes that are brought before us, the adaptations we need to make. We may feel we are losing so much of what has been important to our lives. But we are also lead to see how those things are not as important as being able to lovingly reach out to one another, in real physical presence or remotely, and, together, to focus on the things that offer us real peace, a safe harbour in the storm, where we may offer God our worship and praise.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.