Scripture passages: 1 Kings 19: 9-18, Romans 10: 5 – 15, and Matthew 14: 22-33

I remember visiting the church where my mother grew up in Langford, South Dakota.

The painting in the front of the church was that of Jesus rescuing St. Peter from the waves. There were not a lot of waves in the northeastern part of that state, but the image resonated with that farming community. The forces of nature could pound the area from time to time with fierce winter weather and hot summer winds.

I remember a story of my grandfather going out to the barn to aid his chickens in a severe winter storm. Blinded by the snow, he tied a rope around himself as he went out the door, gave what aid he could and returned by that rope. He could not have found his way back, even that relatively short distance, without it.

The painting reminded him and the rest of the congregation that the hand of Jesus was with them as they worked with and at times battled against the elements. Jesus was their rope back home.

The image in California might elicit thoughts of a rip tide carrying you out to sea and the hand of Jesus like a lifeguard bringing you back.

The forces of nature can be formidable. As the world suffers from a summer of record-breaking heat, we hopefully will learn that a wise farmer works with nature, not treating it without regard.

Will the hand of the creator be there for us as Jesus was there for Peter? I think it all starts by us echoing the prayer of Peter: “Lord, save me.” Lord save us from a future climate that will bring chaos to nature and the lives of the billions of people that depend upon it.

Recently Connie and I added a more efficient HVAC unit to our home. We hope that combining that with the solar units installed a few years ago and plug in cars, we will move closer to energy independence and a carbon neutral state.

Sometimes it seems it all too little too late, especially with so many people not wanting to have to care or not having the ability to care. Our own church had an electric bill of over $1,500.

Elijah is an example of a person who thought he was alone in his desire to create a better future for his people. He had just come from a great victory at Mt. Carmel which brought with it an end to three-year drought. Still, in 1 Kings 9 we find him hiding out in a cave in the desert. “They are seeking my life, to take it away.” (9:9). God calls him to come out of the cave, where he is greeted by winds that split the mountains and break rocks. There is an earthquake and a fire, but God is in none of those. God is in the “sheer silence”, urging him to soldier on. He is not alone.

I am not sure if winds, fires, or earthquakes will change minds. God needs people who listen to quiet pleas of nature, people who are willing to believe they can make a difference, people who are willing to reach out for the hand of Jesus when they are sinking and pray: “Lord, help me.”

We join Psalm 85 in PRAYER:

Lord, help us to listen to what you are saying. In the sheer silence you speak peace to us as we turn our hearts to you. May we see in our day that righteousness and peace kiss each other. May faithfulness spring up from the earth and righteousness look down from heaven. Grant prosperity and may our land increase its yield as we follow Your pathway.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor John