Read Mark 4:35-41 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

At first, setting aside fifteen minutes to pray with this short scripture passage seemed like too much time for too few words. What would I be able to accomplish in this time, was it even worth it, etc, etc?

Foolish man.

To experience this day’s text, I sat in our parish’s Eucharistic chapel. It was a sunny morning and the light played through the windows and lit the room with soft and bright colors. I read through the text above and hoped God would have time to say something to me.

I sat on the east side of the chapel, where I usually sit when I go there to pray.  This time, though, I noticed that I across from the window with the representation of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and it caught my mind in a new way. My father-in-law had open-heart surgery last week, and so the heart has been on my mind. The heart window in this chapel captured my imagination and the Spirit opened me to pray for my father-in-law as he recovers.

Over the years I have done a few silent retreats, and I have noticed that no matter the length of time I have to spend in silence, there is often a certain trajectory. For part of the the time, I fuss. I have brought too many things with me. I wonder if it’s worth the time. Can God speak into all of this stuff?

Then, the Spirit opens me to be okay with where I am—maybe now I’m in the boat with Jesus, “just as he was.” But there is still no stillness—I have to be busy about the work of this time!

Finally, the Spirit leads me to prayer and to trust Jesus. Jesus stills me. In this passage he taught me that yes, he does respond to my needs when I ask in faith, when I trust that yes, God can and will speak into the chaos and storm. I am calmer and understand now that I actually had too little time and too many words of scripture—there is so much blessing and peace and teaching available to me in this passage. Just fifteen minutes?

At the end I pray, “Thanks be to God,” for the blessings of this time, and I pray for the grace to trust Christ’s presence amid tasks and commitments and distractions and desires that swirl around. I pray that God will lead me often to dedicate time and space for prayer, and that over these my spirit will become tethered more closely to the Spirit which binds all creation together.

“Peace! Be still!” Jesus says to us. If the wind and the sea obey him, can we, his people, do the same?

Kyle Lechtenberg, Director of Music and Liturgy