Irene was supposed to come to church Sunday, but she didn’t show up. Reminds me of some other people I know, but I’ll not embarrass anyone and say more about that today.
While I don’t discount the terrible impact Irene did have, I confess, I was disappointed with it by the time it reached Arlington. I have loved hurricanes for a long time. Two weeks after I settled in to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Hurricane Betsy aimed for the city. As a newcomer to New Orleans, I did what everybody else did when we found out Betsy was coming -- we all prepared for a hurricane party. In the hours before she hit, the standard cheery greeting among the old timers: “Have a Happy Hurricane”!
Christians are experts at having happy hurricanes. The scriptures in Mark 4 tell the story of one hurricane party Jesus and his friends experienced. They were sailing a boat across Galilee when an intense storm hit. Read the passage for yourself -- you’ll enjoy it.
Mark has some good ideas for helping us get through our own storms. First, make sure you are in the right boat. There are lots of boats floating around today wanting to take us for a ride -- and it’s pretty easy to get in the wrong boat. The right one has Jesus as captain!
Hurricanes themselves come to us in many ways. Christians are not exempt from being caught in the downpours of life. Family, health, and economics can all kick up squalls without warning. The Bible plainly says that the rain will fall on the just and the unjust alike.
One of the storms that our generation is confronted with is the problem of speed and saturation.
We live in a Twitter communication cycle where we are reminded repeatedly of what Bill Belichek thinks about the Lions game or what Lady Gaga looks like in drag at the MTV Video Awards. And the speed we get all this information is approaching the ridiculous. There is no time for reflection, for truth-checking, for thinking about the results this constant jabber will provoke. Instead, many of us succumb and join the storm, tweeting about the cold pancake we ate at breakfast. We can’t hear God speak if we are in a constant frenzy of hurried shallowness.
Want to have a happy hurricane? Be sure you get in the right boat -- the one with Jesus as your captain. And then, be sure you push off from the dock.
Setting sail -- that’s the only way to get where you want to go. Some people get into the boat with Jesus, but then never leave the dock. No shove off, no sailing. No involvement, no Christian growth. Too many church folk want their churches to be quiet little dockside cafes where they can sip lattes and never have to put energy into sailing the rough seas of a sinful world that needs the sunlight of God’s grace.
Real Christians are not afraid of being caught in the storms of life. They trust their captain. So push off -- there is a boat to sail, Irene or not. And don’t forget -- have a happy hurricane.