Fourth Sunday after Pentecost- Week of June 20, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Dear Jesus, you are always with us, even in the midst of storms. Grant us rest when we are tired, and peace when we are afraid. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is REST. Do you find it easy or hard to rest? Why is rest an important part of our walk with Jesus?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Mark 4:35-41
Reflect: It can be extremely hard to stop and rest, especially when the storm of life is surrounding you. The responsibilities of adulthood are consuming, and when you add raising children on top of that, life can easily become overwhelming. Living in the culture of doing more and multitasking adds to the pressure of doing and being enough. It is critical to remember that we are called to rest. We need the rest just as much as we need the activity. Rest is need for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Often, we measure our success by what we have accomplished with little regard to how we have treated ourselves. God shows us the importance of taking time to rest. Jesus teaches his disciples the importance of rest in this Scripture reading.
Respond: Consciously take or schedule time for rest throughout your week. Where can you rest together? Maybe you can rest by a river, pond, or other body of water and talk about this story. You can pick a spot to rest around your community and notice God’s beloved children. You can rest at a park and see God’s creations through the animals, trees, flowers, and the rest of nature. You can take time to rest at home and share stories together.
- Kelly Benz
Adult and Elementary
Read: Mark 4:35-41
Reflect: Storms are scary! When the wind blows and lightning strikes and thunders rumble, sometimes I get frightened. I could not imagine being in the midst of the storm while on a boat! As the disciples experienced this, they were afraid. So afraid the awakened a sleeping Jesus who quickly put the storm to rest with the words “Peace! Be still!”
We experience all kinds of storms in our lives that cause fear. Sometimes it’s because of wind, thunder, and lightning; but often it is because of things that scare us. Maybe it is being afraid of the dark or getting on an airplane, or maybe you’re afraid of dogs. Whatever your fears may be sometimes you have to confront these fears. What we learn from today’s scripture readings, is that we don’t have to face these fears alone. We can call on Jesus to be with us as we face our fears and he can help put those fears to rest.
Respond: What is something that scares you this week? Is there something that is causing you fear that you need to face? Is today a good day to face your fears by taking Jesus with you? This week, in the face of your fears, tell yourself the words Jesus spoke to the raging storm: “Peace! Be still!”
- Malcolm McLaurin
Adult and Youth
Read: Mark 4:35-41
Reflect: It finally happened last summer. I got a hurricane named after me. Hurricane Sally. (And we had lots of fun joking about how my true personality had come out.) All joking aside, Hurricane Sally was a bad one. In fact, 2020 was a terrible hurricane season. Remember how we passed all the letters of the alphabet and started using Greek letters to name hurricanes? I read somewhere that climate change had a particular role in getting things completely out of whack attributing to the most awful hurricane season in years. This got me thinking about how that happens to us, too. We get out of whack. We lose focus. We come untethered from the God who grounds us. The storm might not be outside, but in our hearts. We might BE the storm. Hurricane [Your Name]. Raging and out of balance. The good news is Jesus can calm the storm, even the storms in us. “Peace, be still!” That message is for us, too. Sometimes we need to rest, be still, and come back to center. And it helps that Jesus is not thrown by our storms. He is not worried. And he is with us in them. Rest with him.
Respond: In the frantic hurrying of everyday life, how do you carve out time to rest? This doesn’t mean take a nap or go to bed earlier (although it could! Jesus took a nap on that boat!) But how do you make time and space to be still? To reflect? To come back to Jesus? Take 15 minutes today to unplug from people and devices. Perhaps sit out in nature. Perhaps journal or doodle about the storms you’re going through. Look for Jesus in them. See him at peace, and lean into his calm today.
- Sally Ulrey
Adult and Adults
Read: Mark 4:35-41
Reflect: My cat Toby absolutely hates thunderstorms. When thunder rumbles, she runs and hides—most of the time, she runs under my bed. During a particularly bad storm last spring, she tried to hide in the cabinet under our bathroom sink. That time was hard for both of us because we were in a tornado watch. If we had to move to better shelter (we live in a second-story apartment) there was no way I’d get her out from the cabinet safely. So, instead of running and hiding, we stared each other down while lying on the living room floor. For my little kitty, that storm was too much—she couldn’t sleep, she was too scared to play, both of us had a lot of anxiety.
I have never experienced a storm while on a boat, so I can’t imagine how the disciples felt as their little vessel was tossing about. I also can’t imagine how it felt to experience the storm stopping with Jesus’ simple words of “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39, NRSV) And although I don’t think that Jesus will physically show up, shout, and calm the scary storms of our own lives, I do think that focusing on Jesus’ presence helps us feel peace and calm in the midst of anxiety. Whether it’s a literal thunderstorm or simply a situation that terrifies us, we can take heart in the fact that Jesus is always with us and can bring us peace.
Respond: One practice I use to focus on Jesus during scary moments is praying a breath prayer. Sit in a comfortable position, and light a candle if you’d like. Breathe deeply in while saying the words: “Jesus, you are with me.” Then, release the breath while saying the words, “help me feel rest and peace.”
- Victoria Hoppes