Click here for General Assembly coverage

Calming the storm — Family faith formation @ home: June 20



Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something — a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer. 

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Connecting with Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

Read the Scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

For the second reading of the text, listen and watch this young man tell the story from his perspective.

Connecting through story

Watch and listen to this brief story about Mahatma Gandhi.

  • What were the storms facing Gandhi and the Indian people?
  • How did Gandhi and his followers respond?
  • In what ways were Gandhi’s actions rebuking the storms?

Connecting with our lives  

Engage in dialogue:

  • Why were the disciples in the boat afraid?
  • Why are storms scary?
  • What was Jesus doing while the storm was raging?
  • How do you think the disciples felt about Jesus being asleep?
  • What did Jesus do to calm the storm?
  • What do you think the disciples felt as soon as the storm stopped?
  • What does the word “rebuke” bring to your mind?
  • What do you think it means that Jesus “rebuked” the storm?
  • Why did Jesus use the words, “Peace! Be still!” to calm the storm?
  • What did those simple words convey to creation and the disciples about who was in control?
  • What affect do those same words have on the disciples?
  • In your own life, what storms needed (or still need) to be calmed?
  • What calms those storms for you?
  • What are some storms in our world today that you think need to be rebuked? Calmed?
  • How are these storms being rebuked or calmed?
  • What is your role in rebuking or calming these storms?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Storms come in all shapes and sizes from literal thunderstorms and hurricanes to daily frustrations in families, schools and churches to societal storms such as racism, poverty, hate and cruelty.
  • It is easy to forget, and yet so vitally important to remember, that no matter the storms we experience in life, Jesus is with us and has ultimate power. While we may still feel the effects of the storms, the Holy Spirit helps us trust and have faith that Jesus in not asleep, nor will he abandon us, and God is in control.
  • The ways in which storms are rebuked or quieted are a varied as the storms themselves.
  • In this text, Jesus is imploring the disciples to trust him in all things and times — calm and stormy. It is also asking us to have faith that Christ is the Lord of all creation and no storm is too much for him to handle or command. No storm will ever separate him from those whom he calls his own.
  • We often think, or sometimes resort, to lashing out at the storms of our lives and in our world. However, we have a powerful example in Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the effectiveness of a nonviolent approach. Even the face of the storm of racism and hatred, practicing active peace can be a louder, and more effective, rebuke.

Reenact this passage taking turns being Jesus. When you get to verse 40, use a tone that indicates anger and frustration. Now read the verse in a tone that indicates care and compassion. Read the verse once more in a tone of disappointment. Which do you think Jesus was expressing and why?

Extra activity: Watch this Bible study/sermon by Brian Blount, president of Union Presbyterian Seminary, on this passage from the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators national conference.



Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.


 is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.