Jump Start # 2692
Mark 4: 41 “And they became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
Our verse today ends the fourth chapter of Mark. There was a violent storm on the sea. The disciples did all they could, but it wasn’t enough. They thought they were going down. They truly believed that they were going to die. Scared, they awoke Jesus who had been sleeping. Mark’s account reveals three words Jesus said, “Hush, be still.” Those weren’t magical words. Had the disciples said those same words, the storm would have continued on in intensity. It was Jesus. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. He has all authority. No, it wasn’t the words, it was the power of God that stilled the sea.
Then our verse. Hearts pounding in fear, the sea settled and the storm over, wet, shaken, they look at Jesus and become even more frightened. No one has ever done what He just did. No one can stop storms, but He did. No one can calm a sea, but He has. Just who is this Jesus? Their minds were swirling with thoughts.
After the storm. I just finished a short little book called “The Post Quarantine Church.” There are about five or six sentences that are good, and the rest, not so hot. It’s written by someone who doesn’t understand the place and purpose of the Biblical church. But what the book does create is the idea and thoughts of what happens after the storm. What happens after the pandemic is over? And, instead of waiting until we are there, it is good to start thinking, planning and envisioning what the post quarantine church will be like.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
First, experts and stats indicate that more people are injured and killed after a storm than during the storm. This is true physically. After a hurricane or tornado, people start cleaning up the debris. Live electrical wires, unsafe walls, exposed nails and things like that cause more harm to lives than the storm does. Taking that thought spiritually, once all the videos stop and the classes resume and the assembling returns, there may be more spiritual causalities than what the separation created. It’s been a long time since folks sat in a Bible classroom and many have gotten use to watching videos when time allowed, there may be some attitudes, emotions and feelings that need adjusting. There is not too much of a team spirit and being a team player when one is separate. Unity, fellowship, tolerance, getting along, subjection may be some themes that once again need to be addressed. Understanding the role of being a member and the value of gathering together are some fundamentals that may have been lost during the storm.
Second, returning to normal may not be the best thing. So many are talking about getting back to the way things were. This is a good time to evaluate how “good” normal was. Did the way we do things truly help people and reach people and move people closer to the Lord? There may be some “new” normal that come out. This is being talked about in the business community. Many are finding that working from home works. The real estate that so many businesses were leasing could be dumped and better productivity comes from the home. Restaurants are looking at better ways of using menus. Everyone touches those menus. Maybe a cleaner, safer way is better. And, for congregations, we’ve had to make many adjustments to navigate through the quarantine period. Rather than passing communion and contribution plates, which everyone touches, maybe a stationary basket for contribution and disposable communion which people pick up on their own is the way to go. Maybe offering video classes will be a permanent part of the future.
The adjustments made during the pandemic may have opened our eyes to better ways of doing things. The old normal may not have been the best way to do things. Often, we do things just because we always have. We have survived a year without Gospel meetings. Could it be that the purpose and the way we do those will now be looked at more carefully?
After a terrible storm has destroyed a home, it is not uncommon for the owners to rebuild. But what is rebuilt is often different, better and stronger than what was standing before the storm. A thought for us as we try to rebuild after the pandemic storm.
Third, the use of videos, livestream, podcasts and blogs has shown for many, many congregations that they have a wider and larger audience than what shows up on Sunday morning. For us, in the height of the quarantine, we had more than a thousand people watching our Sunday services. Even after congregations started returning to assembling, we have a continual steady number in the hundreds who are engaged with what is being sent out. We have received emails and texts worldwide. Once the storm passes, should these things stop? Ought a congregation draw the circle inward or should they continue to spread the message out as far and as wide as possible? I know the answer for us. It’s global. There are many lives being touched that will never assemble in our church building, but what is the focus and point? Build up the size of the Sunday attendance or grow the kingdom worldwide?
After the storm—there is always some cleaning up to be done. There is always some work that needs our attention. But there is also a window of opportunity to make things better than they were before. Now is the time to put some thought into that.