Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Welcome to the gathering of St. Mark’s Church  Sunday, June 20th, 2021.

2 Corinthians 6:1—13 (The Message)

1-10 Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,

I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.

Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

11-13 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Video: Room on our Rock

I invite you now to a time of prayerful reflection.

Prayerful Reflection:

Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Reflection song: Welcome Home by Dave Dobbyn

Song: He Came Singing Love

Welcome and Notices:

Praying the Psalm:

Please respond with the words in bold

Psalm 107 (adapted for worship)

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands,

from the east and the west, from the north and the south.

Some went down to the sea the mighty waters;

they saw the deeds of the Lord,

his wondrous works in the deep.

They reeled and staggered, and were at their wits’ end.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he brought them out from their distress;

he made the storm be still,

and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad when it grew quiet,

and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

for his wonderful works to humankind.

Let them extol the Lord in the congregation of the people,

Let them praise him in the assembly of the faithful.

Prayer for others

We will now be led in Prayer for others.

Song: The Lord’s Prayer

[The offering will be brought up during the chorus “Amen”]

Offering Prayer

Song: From The Ends Of The Earth [Beneath the Southern Cross]

Choir: Creation’s Hymn

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:35-41 New Revised Standard Version

35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Sermon Reflection:

What a curious incident in the night? It is curious in many ways, isn’t it? Can I invite you to share with one another one thing you find curious about the reading and why you find it to be curious? Look around and invite people to share with you.

So what did you find curious?

What we find curious about the reading almost borders on comical confusion, doesn’t it? How can Jesus be asleep when there is a great storm? We sort of have to come up with an explanation that seems comical. “Jesus must have been very very tired.” “Jesus must be a very heavy sleeper.” I want to add to this. Have you picked up the detail that he was on the cushion? Perhaps the disciples provided it for him. It must have been ethically sourced 100% duck down with fine merino wool covering or even tempur, like sleeping on the cloud. Only the finest would do for Jesus.

Okay, now seriously though, I wonder whether the first hearers would have found what we find curious to be curious. I have a hunch, an educated hunch, that the first hearers would not even use the word curious but they would have found the reading mysterious and have been overawed by it.

We would just pass by the fact that they were on the boat crossing the lake at night. I wonder whether the ancients would have heard this as a perfect setting for a wondrous story. For the ancients, the waters, whether a huge lake or sea, always struck in their heart an awe of mystery and fear of unknown. A voyage over winter was hardly ever unless absolutely desperate not only because of storms but because of the mystery and fear of the dark sea. For the same reason sailing at night was most unusual.

When I began prayerfully re-reading the passage with this awe of mystery and fear of unknown, I began to see other things that I had previously overlooked. It says: “leaving the crowd behind, the disciples took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.” It is an awkward sentence structure. It will be a translation issue, of course. However, even then, I wondered why is there such emphasis on being with Jesus? First, it says that the disciples took him with them. I don’t think it means they forced him to be on their boat but there is certainly a preference to say the least. We want him to be with us on our boat. Then it says there were other boats. But it says that “other boats were with him.”

There is a curious interplay happening here. The disciples want to sail over to the other side with Jesus on their boat. The other boats however are with Jesus. Though the disciples had Jesus on their boat, the other boats were with Jesus. I want us to understand the nuance here. If for the disciples it was important which boat Jesus was on, for the other boats what mattered for them was they were with Jesus, following him.

To a certain extent, this dynamic is seen again in the disciples when they find that their life is in danger out in the storm. The disciples wake Jesus up saying to him “Do you not care we are perishing?” The focus here is on the disciples. Our boat is being overswamped, we are perishing. Jesus, do you not care? There is a subtle separation here between Jesus and the disciples, the language gives it away. There is a note of accusation. Don’t you care about us? You got to do something. It’s your fault. You told us to get on the boat and cross the lake at night! Think about it. If you and I are in a boat together and there is danger of capsizing, you are fast asleep, what do you expect me to do? Well, let me tell you what I would do. I will wake you up and say: Get up, get up. We are in grave danger, here is a bucket and start emptying water out! The reality is we are in this together, we are with Jesus, just as the other boats are.

Jesus rebukes the wind and says to the sea: Peace and Be still. And there was calm. And Jesus turns to the disciples on their own boat and rebukes them “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” The disciples respond: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Who then is this, that commands even the wind and the sea? Who then is this, that tames the wind and the sea that strikes awe and fear in our hearts?

What the disciples ask is an important question. Because now that they see Jesus commands the seas, they place awe and fear that they once had for the seas to this Jesus. They recognise Jesus to be the greater mystery. However, perhaps another question that is important to ask has not been asked: “Even the winds and the seas obey, then why don’t we?”

Jesus wants us to see clearly who we are. We don’t have faith. We are afraid. Yet we pretend we have faith and we pretend we are not afraid. While we claim we follow Jesus and we are in solidarity with him and his cause, actually we want him to be in our cause. We know this when we want Jesus to be in our boat for our sake rather than willing to follow where he leads. We know this when our language accuses and divides between us and them, when our language reveals that it was never really about solidarity and unity rather it was only about our wellbeing while being indifferent to others.

Jesus, the Son of God, has come to the greatest mystery of awe and fear, the greatest of all mysteries, the mystery of the human heart. Jesus, the Son of God, comes to us sharing in our humanity so that the heart hidden deep in our deception is revealed. It is revealed so that we may come just as we are to God, God who gives himself to us in love. And sometimes it is only when we dare ourselves to be in circumstances out of our own control, only then will we surprise ourselves to reveal how spacious or how narrow our heart is.

God will not rest until humanity’s heart shall be filled with the spacious love of God that this love may define who we are. If so why was Jesus sleeping in the storm, then? Perhaps it has nothing to do with Jesus, but it might just have everything to do with whose boat we are keeping him in.

Creator Spirit, wellspring of our lives,

As the refreshing rain falls on the just and unjust alike

Refresh us with your mercy

Who knows our own injustice.

As the stream flows steadily on,

Defying all the odds of stone and water

Flow over every boundary and border


That separates us from each other.

As the waters of our baptism washed us and welcomed us

Renew us now in newness of life and unity of love.

As we were once held in the waters of our mother’s womb

Hold us in the power and peace of your abiding presence.

                                                         Living Water, a liturgy from Iona Abbey. Holy Ground 2005. Wild Goose Worship.


A blessing on you who are poor,

Yours is the kingdom of God

A blessing on you who mourn

You shall be comforted

A blessing on you who hunger and thirst for justice

You shall be satisfied.

A blessing on you who make peace,

You shall be called the children of God.


We believe that God is present

In the darkness before dawn;

In the waiting and uncertainty

Where fear and courage join hands,

Conflict and caring link arms,

And the sun rises over barbed wire.

We believe in a with-us God

Who sits down in our midst

To share our humanity.

We affirm a faith

That takes us beyond the safe place:

Into action, into vulnerability

And into the streets.

We commit ourselves to work for change

And put ourselves on the line;

To bear responsbility, take risks,

Live powerfully and face humiliation;

To stand with those on the edge;

To choose life

And be used by the Spirit

For God’s new community of hope.


                                                                 From In Our Own Backyard. Holy Ground 2005. Wild Goose Worship Group

Song: Jesus You Have Come To The Lakeshore

Passing of the Peace of Christ: In Christ, You are included!

Song of Sending: Every Day


The Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with us all now and for evermore. Amen.