First Word - March 2020


After the Storm comes the Calm. Our islands have been battered by two storms in recent days – Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis with the warning a third one – Storm Ellen - could be on its way. With these storms has come the problems of flooding, power cuts, train cancellations, sporting fixtures postponed, livelihoods swept away and some people have lost their lives and others made homeless until their homes can dry out and the restoration work begun. In the midst of it all, the emergency services, the voluntary services and the military have done sterling work in coming to people’s and whole communities rescue. In this part of the country the damage has been more limited – fence panels down, garage roof lost, trees falling. We are in the hands of the elements and apart from sensible precautions there is little we can do in the face of 80 mph winds or torrential rain. However, it does perhaps help us to see our little problems in a much wider context and help us to understand the wisdom of being thankful for greeting each new day as a gift of a new life to be lived. Storms come in many and different forms in our daily lives – redundancy, marriage break up, major illness and the death of loved ones. In the gospel tradition Jesus is set, at one point, in the midst of a storm on the Lake. The writer of Mark’s gospel (Mark 4 v 35-41) tells us that Jesus was asleep on a cushion at the rear of the boat and his disciples wake him and forcefully say do you not care that we might be lost? Jesus asks them why be worried and then he calms the elements and the disciples are left wondering who is this person? It tells us that after the storm comes the calm when we can pause re-evaluate and move forward. It also importantly reminds us that Jesus himself is in the midst of the storm with us – just as he was with the disciples in that boat in the midst of the storm on the lake. The storms of life can be very challenging but we do not journey them alone, even if at times it feels so. God’s hand is there waiting for us to place our hand in his and to go forward in his strength. Fr. Stuart Nairn.