BY ERIN BROCK
Rashidi Mfaume Rashidi stands in the middle of rice fields in Tanzania. In the Dodoma region of Tanzania LWR works with farmers to improve their rice quality and yield for greater food security for all the community.
“Do you not care that we are perishing?” Frustrated that their teacher is asleep in their storm-swamped boat, the disciples berate Jesus for his apparent indifference to the danger surrounding them. They want him to get up and help them bail water from the boat.
So the disciples are amazed and stunned when Jesus settles the wind and sea. They certainly didn’t expect their mortal friend Jesus to calm the storm. Suddenly their image of Jesus takes on another dimension.
Jesus challenges the disciples’ expectations, responding not only with weather-altering assistance but also turning around and questioning them, calling them to grow beyond their limited expectations of him, asking, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Even though fear easily overrides faith under precarious conditions, Jesus urges them to have faith anyway.
What does it mean to have faith in the midst of conflicts and disasters? Are we to wait for Jesus to save the day?
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If we instead allow Jesus to challenge our expectations of who he is and how he responds to suffering in the world, our faithful response to disasters and conflicts broadens as well. When we are asleep to the suffering of those in our global “boat,” their calls rouse us to action. Despite our shortcomings and fears, Christ acts through us to calm the storms in turmoilridden places. In amazement, we learn that we are called to be, as Martin Luther said, “little Christs” in service to others. We’re called to provide relief to those suffering conflicts and natural disasters and help people rebuild their lives in the following months and years. We’re called to speak out for peace. Unhindered by our expectations and fears we’re called to respond to those who are perishing, knowing that Jesus is in the boat along with us, working through us.
Jesus, who calls us to respond to suffering in the world, empower your people to withstand the chaos of wind and waves. Give peace to those who have known ony war and give comfort to those who have known only cold. In the name of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, AMEN.
Erin Brock worked as LWR’s Program Associate for Constituent Engagement