August 19, 2013

Stilling the Storm

Mark 4:35-41

[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”
—Mark 4:39


Taking a leisurely boat ride might sound like a good idea for summer fun. Many cities located on a river or by a lake are known for their night-time dinner cruises on which passengers can enjoy a meal and the city lights.

But it was different in ancient times. People viewed the sea as the place of chaos and evil forces. Crossing the water was dangerous because of poor boat construction and lack of navigation and communication devices. Unexpected storms often led to tragedy.

Today we read about a boat ride that went terribly wrong. A furious squall came out of nowhere, and waves broke over the boat, nearly swamping it. The disciples (some of whom were experienced fishermen) were desperately afraid. And Jesus was sleeping! They woke him up, virtually accusing him of their fate. Jesus rebuked the storm, commanding it to be silent. The wind ceased, and a great calm followed.

In this story we see Jesus as a miracle worker. Even more, he is Lord over the forces of nature. That’s why the storm obeys him. Further, we discover Jesus’ special love and care for his followers. His answer to the disciples’ (and our) urgent inquiry in difficult times is “I do care about you! Put all your trust in me, and don’t be afraid.”

Jesus, give us faith to recognize you as our reliable care-taker and protector. Take away our fears and fill us with awe over your power and love for us, your followers. Amen.

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