Archive for July 4th, 2018

Ecclesiastes 6Chasing after the Wind

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Who is there to tell a man what will come after him under the sun?  

Commentary will tell us that here Qohelet, the author, is reflecting on humanity’s relationship with the divine and the dilemma of being human.  We control nothing – although we try to convince ourselves that we do.  We gather goods and store them up – yet there is no guarantee that we will benefit from or enjoy these goods.  We work all day and sometimes all night to survive – but we are fools if we think this gives us control of our destiny.  In our culture we have been trained and we inculcate our children in the thinking that work is the answer to all of our problems and discomfort.  We believe we can catch the wind.

The marvelous gift of being a follower of Christ is that he comes to share both his humanity and divinity with us.  As his sisters and brothers, we claim the same Father, we share the same Spirit, we even share his Body and Blood when we partake of the Eucharist.   And we do not have to ask for this gift . . . it is given freely.  What Christ followers know is that through Christ our humanity is raised up to its divine potential.  Paul gives the Romans – and us – this message: What will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?  No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8: 35, 37-39)  The Psalmist describes the power of God: You are robed in power, you set up the mountains by your might.  You still the roaring of the seas; the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.  (Psalm 65:7-8 What Gospel readers will recall is that Jesus even commands the elements.  Jesus shows us that he – like God – controls even the wind when the frightened disciples awaken him and he calms the storm at sea.  He chides them saying: You of little faith, why are you so afraid? (Matthew 8:24-26 Luke (8:24) describes the scene in this way: He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm . . .

We have constant questions about our fate.  We want to feel secure, safe and loved.  We want to know if our future will be easy or difficult, and we want details.  We want to control our destiny and our world, and yet . . . we have no need to wrestle with any of this if we open ourselves to a full and honest relationship with Christ.  By becoming one with him and acknowledging him as our brother, we are granted all that we desire and more . . . we suddenly have no fear of the storms life brings us because now we act in Christ.

Who is there to tell us what will come after us under the sunOur brother, the Christ.

Who is there to calm our fear and to dampen our fretfulness when we are anxious?  Our brother, the Christ.

Who is there to greet us and to speak with us when we are alone or abandoned?  Our brother, the Christ.

Who is there to celebrate with us when we are joyful?  Our brother, the Christ.

Who is there to still the winds and leash the roiling waves when we suddenly find ourselves in the tempest?  Our brother, the Christ.

Qohelet cautions us that we chase after the wind when we create a world around us that tells us we are God.  What Jesus comes to tell us is that we have already been given the gift of divinity . . . and it comes to us through him.  He tells us that we need not fear the wind . . . for he will do the chasing.

We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 4, 2011.

Image from: http://locicero.net/teachrembrandt/lesson_plans_htm/storm_on_sea_of_galilee.html 

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