Breezes and storms

It has been a momentous week, thanks to storms unleashing from across the Atlantic - and today's Mass readings have provided God's antidote to these events. We began with (and still live under) the threat of nuclear war between the US and N Korea; or rather, between two leaders behaving like belligerent boys squaring up in the playground. We heard Trump threatening N Korea with 'fire and fury', such as the world has never seen: and then in today's first reading (I Kings 19) we were reminded that God is to be found, not in blazing fire or the fury of an earthquake or the mightiness of wind, but in the whisper of a gentle breeze. God is not in unparallelled destructive power, but in something quiet and cooling and barely discernible, except to those who, like Elijah, can wait and listen, discern and encounter God.

And where and how God is, is how he wishes us to be: not in fire and fury, but as gentle as a caressing breeze.

And then in today's Gospel (Matthew 14) we had another storm, this time engulfing the disciples' fishing boat. And Peter, impelled by nothing more than faith and trust and love, stepped out of the boat and into the power of the storm... and I thought of a short video I'd shared to our Facebook page, of clergy and religious leaders in Charlottesville, slowly, prayerfully, purposefully walking towards the storm and the fury of the volatile neo-Nazi mobs... quietly stepping out, armed with nothing more than trust, and faith and a love which demanded that they could do no less than step out.

Would I have as much courage, as much faith and trust and love, to step out into anything resembling such a dangerous storm?

And to end this post... some words of Nelson Mandela, tweeted by Barack Obama, to help us recognise the breeze amidst the fury and the storms of the coming week. May we be people who live and act only from the love which comes most naturally to our hearts...

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.