There’s a storm a’coming!

Nowadays we’re given a great deal of warning about storms.  The Great Storm of 1987, that occurred during the night of 15-16 October, passed me by completely with me noticing nothing.  That is a bit odd when I tell you that I was staying that night with a friend who was then living in Surrey.  We had had a nice evening and a few glasses of wine.  I went to bed and slept very well.  I woke early and looked out from my bedroom to see devastation around us.  We walked out, stepping over fallen trees.  18 people died as a result of that storm and since then weather forecasters have urged on the side of caution!  So we are bracing ourselves for the arrival of Storm Ciara and will see what it brings.

storm 1.jpg

Oh dear! This happened just down the road from where I was staying!

The greatest image of a storm must be in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.  Poor Dorothy caught up in the eye of the storm and deposited in another world, a parallel universe almost.  It could be metaphor for the other storm that could be brewing, the General Synod of the Church of England, which meets at Westminster this coming week – very often something of a parallel universe!  From Monday until Thursday we will be battening down the hatches and remembering the immortal words of screen legend Bette Davies in the 1950 classic ‘All about Eve’,

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I shared my opinions last week about the Bishop’s Pastoral Statement which rather trod on the toes of the Living in Love and Faith project, and exposed the thinking of the members of the House of Bishops (or some of them).  The publication of that Statement has provoked a large number of questions which will come to Synod on Monday.  There are 121 questions on the Order Paper and at least 15 of them are about the Statement.

But as with all Groups of Sessions what might not seem contentious can provoke a bit of storm.  One of those things may be The Channel Islands Measure, which I will have the privilege of chairing through all its stages in this Synod.  But the predictions of a bit of a squall might be exaggerated.  We wait to see.

Whatever actually happens, I hope that you will follow my Synod blog.  You can find the link here.  I do my best to update the blog as often as I can and to be as honest I can be about what goes on.

What reassures me in all of this is that the gospel experience is that Jesus brings calm to the storm.  The disciples thought their end was nigh as the wind picked up and the rain fell and they were being tossed about on the waters of the lake.  And then Jesus speaks as Mark tells us

Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4.39-41)

Jesus speaks words of peace into each of the storms that we face, the ones we know are heading our way and the ones that seem to come from nowhere, and that catch us unawares.  But as the wind builds up and the trees around us shake we need to have faith in the one whom even the wind and sea obey.

Lord Jesus,
speak your word of peace
into our storms.

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