Today we’re thinking about the story of Jesus calming the storm. It’d been a long day and Jesus and the disciples decided to sail over to the other side of the lake. During the trip Jesus fell asleep in the boat but a really bad storm picks up. As you can imagine Jesus’ friends grow frantic with worry. So they eventually wake Jesus up, and he speaks to the wind and the waves, he’s able the calm the situation and the storm goes away.

I wonder how it would have felt being in the middle of that storm as the boat is knocked from side to side?

In the story though, I’m struck by how Jesus seemed able to remain calm.

When something difficult or upsetting happens I wonder how do you deal with the situation? Are you able to stay calm or do you get stressed easily? Are you able to take a deep breath? Or is it difficult to stop thinking about what ever it is that’s happened?

Thankfully how we respond to these moments is something that we can practice.

Relaxation Exercises

I wanted to take a few moments this morning to practice together some relaxation techniques we can use when we feel a bit like the disciples in the story.

Eyebrows – Raise your eyebrows and wrinkle your forehead. Try to touch your hairline with your eyebrows. Hold for 5 seconds…and relax

Frown – Make a frown. (Imagine how an England fan would feel after the game on Friday night!) Hold for 5 seconds…and relax.

Eyes – Close your eyes as tightly as you can. Draw the corners of your mouth back with your lips closed. Hold for 5 seconds…and relax.

Shoulders – Lift your shoulders. Try to make your shoulders touch your ears. Hold for 5 seconds…and relax.

Fists – Stretch your arms out in front of you. Close your fist tightly. Hold for 5 seconds…and relax. Feel the warmth and calmness in your hands.

Toes – Curl your toes under as far as you can. Hold for 5 seconds…and relax. Feel the tension leave your legs.

Whole Body – Tighten all the muscles in your whole body. Hold for ten seconds…and relax. Let your entire body be heavy and clam. Enjoy the feeling of relaxation.

Hopefully you’re all feeling a little more relaxed! At this stage though, I should offer a slight disclaimer. The last time I did this with a congregation, we had a visiting minister taking the service. I think we maybe relaxed everyone too much because during the sermon a few people nodded off. It might have been the relaxation exercises but then again it might have been the 45 minutes the person preached for. Robert all I can say is, hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen this morning!