Mark 4:35-41 – On that day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (NRSV)
It was just one of those days on the boat. The calm became a stiffening breeze, the breeze became a blow, and the blow just got stronger and stronger. We were in a race on the Bras d'Or Lakes of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, and we were fairly new to the boat. We weren't really certain how much wind it could take, especially in a race and with little crew. It didn't take much of a conversation to decide to change jibs, even though it meant that we'd be slower. I had to go forward to the bow to bring down the genoa and set a storm jib. I have to admit that it was a scary experience as the bow crashed through waves and I lost my balance time and again.
The jib was finally set, I made my way back to the tiller, and we resumed the race. We actually came third in that race, but that meant little as I thought of the winds and waves that we had faced and the fear that had followed every footstep from bow to stern.
Some friends of Jesus found themselves in such a storm and had the same reaction that I did: fear. Only the presence of Jesus could calm those fears and let them find that faith can overcome both wind and wave.
You may never find yourself afloat on a boat, but you will find yourself in many situations where the storms threaten you, the winds overwhelm you, and the waves intimidate you. The presence of Jesus transforms many situations and allows faith to rise above fear.
Prayer: God, You are our refuge and strength, our help in the time of trouble, whatever that trouble may be. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change due to our abuse and neglect, though earthquake, wind, and pandemic threaten us, though waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with tumult. Help us to be still and know that You are with us: we are not alone! Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Come Let Us All Unite And Sing" (Lyrics)