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4th Sunday after Pentecost - Trust Amid Life's Storms - Homily by Pr. Jim


20 June 2021

Grace Lutheran Church

Ashland, Oregon

The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim


A warm welcome to all who have gathered for worship this morning, especially to our guests and visitors. Today we gather around Word and Sacrament through which God equips, directs, and supports his people in the mission and ministry of his Kingdom. All that God promised in his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, comes together by the power of the Spirit as we worship. Guests and visitors, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. If you have no church home of

your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Pastor Jim or this morning’s lay assistant will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!

AS WE GATHER   In Calm As in Strife

Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salva-tion; but Jesus is here and now, and when we call on him, he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they could to their Creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.


Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened for us the gate of eternal life. Give us your continual hope; put good desires into our minds and bring them to full effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


PRE-SERVICE MUSIC Eternal Father, Strong to Save LSB 717

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me LSB 715


Life is sometimes like a storm that causes our hearts to fear. In today’s gospel the disciples encounter a storm on the waters while Jesus is asleep. Upon waking, Jesus bids the wind to cease, and he speaks words of peace to his troubled disciples. We gather amid life’s obstacles and hardships to hear words of comfort and promise, to greet one another with peace, and to celebrate Jesus’ enduring presence among us at the Lord’s Table and in the community of faith.

PRELUDE ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus—Lisa Hoekstra

Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano


In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Turn to me and be saved,” says the Lord. “For I am God, and there is no other.”

     If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins

and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Today we confess our fears, and the weak faith that makes them so very frightening.

Most merciful God, we confess that we are helpless in our sin; we cannot free ourselves. We need the power of your presence. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

Peace! Be still! For our sake, God made Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin—so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. For the sake of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share

the peace of the Lord as we greet each other.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.

GLORY TO GOD    Refrain:     Glory to God, glory to God,

Glory to God in the Highest

And peace to his people on earth

  1. Lord God, heavenly King, Almighty God, and Father, we worship

you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.Refrain

  1. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.You are

seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer.Refrain

  1. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy

Spirit in the glory of God the Father.

   Refrain:     Glory to God, glory to God,

Glory to God in the Highest

And peace to his people on earth.

Amen, Amen, Amen


Almighty God our Father, you rule over land and sea, sunshine and

storm. By your strength pilot us, by your power preserve us, by your

wisdom instruct us, and by your hand protect us; through your Son,

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and

the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON Job 38:1-11

[At the end of the book of Job, after Job and his companions have argued about the cause of

the great suffering Job endures, God finally speaks. These verses begin that speech, which is

a grand account and vision of creation, describing God’s order of the cosmos and inviting Job

to marvel at its beauty.]

The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid the cornerstone when the morning stars sang together, and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out of the womb?—when I made the clouds its garment, and this darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

PSALM 107 (Read responsively)

          Refrain: You stilled the storm and silence the waves of the sea.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

and his love is everlasting.

Those who sailed the sea in ships on the deep waters;

they saw the works of the LORD and his wonders in the abyss. Refrain

God’s command raised up a storm wind which tossed high the waves of the sea.

They sank down to the depths; their hearts melted away.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

   He stilled the storm to a whisper and quieted the waves of the sea.  Refrain

Then they were glad because of the calm, and he brought them to safe harbor.

   Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy. Refrain

SECOND LESSON 2nd Corinthians 6:1-13

[Paul and his fellow workers experience great hardships and even rejection while carrying out their missionary work. Nevertheless, Paul continuously proclaims that God has not rejected us but is graciously working for our salvation.]

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as imposters, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

SPECIAL MUSIC Faith of Our Fathers—Henri F. Hemy

GOSPEL Mark 4:35-41

The Holy Gospel according to Mark, the 4th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus’ calming of the storm on the sea reveals his power over evil since the sea represents evil and chaos. The boat on the sea is a symbol of The Church and invites us to trust God in the midst of life’s turbulence and uncertainties.]

When evening had come, [Jesus] said [to the disciples,] “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on a cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He 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 no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

     Praise to you, O Christ.

INSTRUMENTAL DUET Sonata III, Andante—G. F. Handel

John Whitesitt, Flute & Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano

HOMILY Trust Amid Life’s Storms—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel Lesson

Trust Amidst Life’s Storms

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

“Where is God when you need him?”

In a way, that was the question Job found himself asking. You know the story … how the Lord allowed Satan to so bedevil poor Job that he lost his fortune and family … his health and almost his sanity. “Where is God when you need him?” is rehashed from almost every angle in Job’s conversations with his commiserating friends. It all boiled down to trust.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples were faced with much the same question. They needed help … and needed it badly. The boat they were in was caught in a sudden squall common to the Sea of Galilee. The waves were rising … the winds were blowing and howling … and the boat was taking on water. Experienced seamen as they were, they were frightened and panicking. And where was Jesus in the midst of all this? Sleeping … sleeping in the back of the boat!

“Don’t you care?” Mark quotes the disciples as saying. Sounds all too familiar. We’ve said it too, haven’t we? And we have to confess that there are many times when it looks like God has gone to sleep on the job … or put us hold.

Looking at the text, we need to make one other observation. Even though He was asleep when the storm broke, the Lord was there all the time. Was He sleeping just because He was tired? Or was He asleep in the midst of the storm simply because the storm didn’t worry Him? Was He so confident of being in charge that He could afford to sleep? “The Lord gives his beloved sleep,” Scripture reminds us. Sleep has always been a picture of serene confidence and trust … of being at peace with the world and one’s self. How many times haven’t we marveled at the way our children seemed to sleep through everything? To say that we’ve slept like a baby is one of the highest compliments a person can give to his/her host. Sleeping like a baby is the sleep of one who is confident that everything is under control and all right.

Where is God when we need Him? Maybe that’s the wrong question to be asking. Maybe it ought to be: Where are we when we ask that kind of a question?

The disciples were afraid. As blessed apostle Mark relates the incident, they don’t ask to be saved … they are much too busy bawling the Lord out. “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Job … in the Old Testament Lesson … was in much the same spot. He spends most of 36 chapters in the book (with the help of his three friends) trying to justify himself, arguing finally with God Himself that he deserves a much better deal than he was getting.

I suppose most of us would be tempted to side with Job and company … or with the disciples who were understandably upset over their situation. It’s just a fact of life that we all have rather fine opinions of ourselves and of our own self-worth and importance. So much so that we sometimes wonder whether the storm the Lord seems to be sleeping through might be one we’ve cooked up for Him—a howling, wailing hurricane of words and accusations … an attempt on our part to rock His boat and swamp Him with demands to do what we want Him to do … and when and where we want Him to do it. And if the Lord doesn’t yield to our warnings and demands … well, there’s always this: “Don’t you care that we are perishing?”

“Don’t you care?” The text tells us that Jesus got into the boat … just as he was (whatever that means … probably He didn’t take the time to change … pack on overnight bag … clean up or rest or anything like that. Mark’s gospel tells us that He cared so much that He was on the move. In fact, the impression one gets in reading Mark’s Gospel is that Jesus is involved in a whirlwind of activity. In the space of four chapters that surround today’s Gospel Lesson, Jesus will get into a boat six times … crisscrossing the Sea of Galilee from Jewish to Gentile sides and back again …

  • Crossing the sea to heal a madman on the Gentile side;
  • Returning to raise the daughter of the Jewish leader of the town; meanwhile also healing a woman with a long-term illness (next Sunday’s gospel lesson), and even feeding 5000 people who forgot to bring their lunch;
  • Crossing back to the other side, where crowds of sick people are waiting, and another daughter in need of healing …
  • as are the deaf and dumb … the blind … the hungry … and scores of other people seeking Jesus and His healing on one side of the lake or the other.

At the beginning of this campaign … so today’s Gospel tells us … the disciples asked, “Who then is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?” By the end of campaign (four chapters later), Jesus Himself will ask the question, “Okay … who am I?” And Peter will answer, “You’re IT! You’re the Messiah!” Peter and the rest of the disciples will discover how foolish their shipboard question was. In this whirlwind campaign of teaching and healing, they will see how much Jesus cares about broken and perishing. “Right,” Jesus will say, “and there’ll be more of the same.” And then, He’ll proceed to tell them that after the campaign comes the convention, where the action is—Jerusalem! There He’ll be nominated and elected. In a tremendous demonstration the crowds will pick Him … to be crucified.

“Don’t you care that we are perishing?” the disciples asked. “Where is the Lord when you need him?” The answer that Mark provides us on this Sunday is: Jesus is every-whereeverywhere you need Him … on either side of the lake … or in the middle of it if that’s where the problem is … and even nailed to a Cross (if that’s what you need to happen in your place) … even raised from the tomb (if that’s where you are heading). “Don’t you care that we are perishing?”

How did St. Paul put it? “We just can’t judge Christ by human criteria.”

· The disciples learned that on the boat. He told the storm to stop, and it did. “What then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

· Job learned it too. As God began speaking in today’s Old Testament Lesson, He asked: “Job, what do you know about anything?” To which Job said, “Oops, I think I’ve let loose a storm I shouldn’t have; let’s forget the whole question. Sorry, I was wrong.”

Along with Job we need to remind ourselves … this is the God whom we dare to accuse of “sleeping on the job” or “putting us on hold” when we get it into our minds that He shouldn’t be. This is the Lord who cared enough to die for us … to make us new creatures by forgiving our sins and setting us on the path of new life by faith in Him. And a part of that newness … it would seem … is trusting in the Lord—even when the storms of life hit. I mean, He’s proved it so often in our lives … proved it in living and dying and living again for us. He has proved so often that He’s there when we need Him. And that by now, we ought to realize that even if He were asleep, He is still very much in control!

When life bombards us on all sides … step back; catch your breath and sing this song …

No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from


+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

APOSTOLIC CREED                                

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life + everlasting. Amen.


Confident in God’s steadfast love through Jesus Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all those in need.

Holy God, you gather your people from east and west, north and south. We pray for the mission of The Church through-out the world, that your steadfast love may be made known to all peoples. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Mighty God, you laid the foundations of the earth. Seas teem with life, forests reach up to praise you, and the morning stars sing your Name and all creation shouts for joy. We pray for your blessed creation that it may continue to flourish and magnify your glory. Cultivate in us greater care for what you made so that all the inhabitants of the earth may be sustained. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Sovereign Lord, you keep watch over all nations. We pray for countries experiencing violence, hunger, and unrest. Guide the leaders of nations and all in authority in their efforts to govern wisely so that the people they serve will live in peace and harmony. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, you are close to the brokenhearted and near to those who are sick, suffering, poor, outcast, or rejected. Bless all who are in need this day especially

Rusty (under hospice care), Shari (continued cancer therapy), Bert (under doctor’s care for cardiac problems), those suffering from COVID-19, together with those we name in our hearts that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as God’s people as we pray for them. Be close to the hearts of all who are lonely or homebound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of love, you dwell with us in this faith community. We pray for our parish leaders, and lay ministers. Grant them knowledge, patience, and kindness, that through their leadership your Name may be exalted in this assembly. Continue to guide the members of our Call Committee in their discernment process of calling a pastor to serve with us in mission and ministry. Give us patience and keep us mindful that in your time you will provide us with a pastor who is known and love by you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our Father, as a father protects and comforts his child, you protect and comfort us. On this Father’s Day, we pray for all who have blessed us by making your love known to the families in their care. Bless and strengthen them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

By your Spirit you gather us in love with all the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now see you as you are. With them, may our hearts live forever in your keeping. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We raise our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Heavenly Father, in Christ you have raised us up to new life. Receive what

we have to offer, that others might know that life through the gifts you give

to us to use and to share in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Lord be with you.

   And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

   We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

   It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O holy God:

You are the Life and Light of all.

By your powerful word you created all things.

Through the prophets you called your people

to be a light to the nations

Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son.

He is your Light, shining in our darkness

And revealing to us your mercy and might.


In the night in which he was betrayed,

our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take and eat; this is my + body which is given

for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

And gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my + blood

shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness

of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.

Remembering, therefore, his preaching and healing,

his dying and rising, and his promise to come again,

we await that day when all the universe will rejoice in

your holy and life-giving light.

                    Come, Lord Jesus, live in us that we may live in you.

By your Spirit bless us and this meal, that refreshed with

this heavenly food, we may be light for the world, revealing

the brilliance of your Son.

Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.

Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father,

with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and

forever. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven;

hallowed be Thy Name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those

who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil;

For thine is the kingdom

and the power and the glory

forever and ever. Amen.


The peace of the Lord be with you always.

     And also with you.


Distribution Music I Am the Bread of Life WOV 702



O God of love, you bind us to yourself in this sacrament, and strengthen

us through this meal for service to the world. Guide us by your Spirit that

we may forever give witness to the Name of Jesus Christ, the Lord of life. Amen.


SONG My Life Flows On in Endless Song WOV 781 vs. 1 & 2

My life flows on in endless song; above earth’s lamentation,

I catch the sweet, though far off hymn that hails a new creation.

No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing.

It finds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +

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