As a young child, I was trying to go to sleep one night when I heard a weird creaking. It scared me. I crept toward the living room where the lights were low. My heart beat faster as I drew nearer the sound. I peeked around the door frame. There was my mother with one of my younger siblings in her arms. The creak was the sound of the rocking chair as my mother soothed the baby to sleep while humming “Rock of Ages.”
I went back to bed and slept soundly. Whenever I heard the sound again, I rested easy.
I think of Jesus in the boat with his students in the middle of a storm when waves lapped over the side of the small craft. They panicked, and Jesus slept soundly. They had to rouse him. He said, “Trust in the one who is in control.”
Years later, after Jesus’ departure, James was arrested and executed. Peter was arrested and thrown in prison. The night before Peter was to be tried, he slept soundly between two soldiers (possibly the ones who would execute him the next day). Peter calmly rested at a moment I would have been pacing the floor. Perhaps he remembered Jesus’ deep sleep in the middle of a storm in the small boat.
We share peace by embodying peace. Others sense our trust in One beyond ourselves. We live with a quiet confidence in God’s rule.
Sometimes I lead people on walks in the mountains. I try to help them hear the sounds of an autumn breeze rustling through colorful leaves. To listen to the two distinct sounds a waterfall makes. To enjoy the flute-like song of a veery. These experiences in the woods make me think of that old hymn, This Is My Father’s World.
This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!
My goal on those mountain outings is to help others experience God’s peace, God’s shalom. A pandemic storms about us now, and we cringe in a small boat. Disease imprisons us, and we are unsettled. By resting in God’s everlasting arms with the creak of a rocker -- to the humming of a familiar tune -- we sleep in heavenly peace.
The Rev. Charles Maynard is a United Methodist minister, storyteller, and author. He currently serves as Pastor of Generosity & Traditional Worship at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.
A bitter election. A deadly virus. Unrelenting racism. Economic, environmental, and social crises. Followers of the Prince of Peace, the world needs you. Your community needs your witness and calming presence. In these anxious days, The Call asked ...