The biblical narrative contains a story of Jesus masterfully stilling a storm. (Mark 4:35-41) The boat is taking on water big time and the disciples are frightened and not too happy with Jesus seemingly sleeping through the storm. They wake him. Jesus challenges their lack of faith, and the stills the storm.
Storms come in every life. Some are minor storms that pass in a few days or weeks: a broken bone, minor surgery, a bad cold. Some are medium storms that take longer to adjust and accept: an extended illness, perhaps. And some are major: a life-threatening illness or injury or the loss of a loved one.
I think Mark’s story is not so much about a miracle by Jesus as it is a parable of how to live in the face of life’s storms. And I think the gathered faithful need to hear the Gospel in this fascinating story.
FIRST, we are reminded that we don’t like storms. We don’t like unexpected life-altering storms. We don’t like storms that disrupt or threaten us. We don’t like storms that deposit a certain level of chaos in our lives.
But they do come.
BUT SECOND: God has power over the storms. The Gospel writers tell us, “This is Jesus. He has a unique relationship with God. Jesus can still the storms. Jesus has the power.”
We are invited to know the One who has authority over the storms. Jesus proclaims that God is greater than any storm life can dish out.
Blasé Pascal once wrote, “There is a certain joy in being in a ship on a storm tossed sea when one knows that the ship will not sink.” Does this mean no troubles? No! Does it mean we will not know pain? Certainly not! Does it mean we will not die?
Not at all! It simply means that the ship of faith will not sink.
Jesus was not primarily about stilling storms. Jesus was about faith building, faith formation, faith development. That faith development is foundational to our Christian journey.
In a world where a suicide bomber strikes almost every day; in a world where someone tries to kill congressmen at a charity fund-raising baseball event; in a world where seven sailors are killed when a wayward cargo ship rams the side of one of our fleet; in a world where a storm can interrupt my life at any moment, Jesus says, “Cultivate your faith in the Presence of God. Practice the Presence daily.” Then Jesus adds, “Peace. Be Still. God is here, right here and right now.”
We lead with and from that message.