Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr




Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”


Perhaps you have heard the admonition from the psalms, “Be still and know that I am God.” 

As it’s sung and presented in lithographs and posters, it feels like a lullaby. But, in the original context of Psalm 46 it’s a war cry:

Come and see the works of the Lord,
who has done fearsome deeds on earth;
Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
“Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth.”

and then, finally, there is reassurance:

The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

I think of the scene in the film King Kong when Ann Darrow (played by Naomi Watts) is caught between a T-Rex and a giant ape. If the ape’s intentions are suspicious the lizard’s are perfectly clear. So the heroine wisely retreats to Kong’s safer shelter.

When Jesus rebuked the winds and the seas and they settled into peaceful submission, the disciples realized they were dealing with Serious Authority.

It reminds me again of Abraham watching the column of smoke rising from Sodom and Gomorrah. Only the day before he had been eating, drinking and dickering with this amiable deity!

In a culture obsessed with freedom and choice, our privileged relationship with God is sometimes considered a choice; as in, “take it or leave it.”

The scriptures remind us it’s a choice of life and death, and there is nothing pleasant about death. It will be a serious disappointment for those who see "heroic" possibilities in it. John Milton’s Satan may prefer living in hell to service in heaven but it is hell in any case.

Many people like to tell themselves they are free and they freely choose to worship God in a "free country." But those who experience love realize freedom has nothing to do with it. I have no choice but to return my Lover's gift; he has given me myself! To choose otherwise is death and that's, to put it politely, stupid. 

The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

As I get up each day to serve the Lord, I take courage in God’s presence. Life in the Lord is more than existence; it is energy, enthusiasm, fellowship and pleasure. It is opportunity to discover, experience and enjoy.

We have been grasped by the Lord’s mighty hand, the same hand that fired the sun, formed the earth and watered the seas. We have only to thank God for his love of us.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.