June 24, 2012
Grace and Peace to you this morning. Grace and Peace.
This morning’s Gospel lesson is a good one for a Baptism Sunday. It is a good one for all of us who are not done yet growing in our faith. It is a wonderful analogy for those who still struggle with faith, which I dare say is all of us.
Storms can come up quickly on large lakes. And here are the disciples in their boat. Jesus is worn out from a day of preaching and teaching, surrounded by people so that they can hardly move, much less eat. So Jesus is sleeping in the back. (Sunday afternoon naps are pretty much sacramental.) But the storm comes suddenly upon them, and they wake Jesus up.
This is a fascinating moment. They wake Jesus up, saying, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” But when he calms the sea and the storm, they marvel at it. “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” They turn to him for help, but they have no idea that he can speak peace to the sea and still it. Maybe they needed someone to help row. Maybe they needed help with the rigging. Or maybe they just hate to see someone sleeping while they are panicking.
But Jesus calms the storm and then says, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
How many times in our lives have the storms come up suddenly? How often in our lives are we only part way across the water when the boat starts filling? Just when we thought the job was secure, we discover the company has been sold. Just when we thought we were headed where we supposed to go, and we get stopped, blown backwards and nearly swamped. Just when we got our act together, something comes along and knocks our legs out from under us.
We have our own stories of these moments, don’t we?
The disciples in the story are learning to trust. Trust doesn’t come easy. They have heard Jesus’ words. They have witnessed his healings. They have seen him turn the words of scoffers back on themselves. But nothing like this.
There are fishermen in the boat. They know the dangers of storms when you are out in the lake. They know the threat is real. But they haven’t yet learned that the one with them has authority over threats like this. The one with them has power over such dangers.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” So often this has been spoken scorn and derision. “Well, if you just had faith…” But I believe Jesus speaks it here with compassion for the weary and love for the storm-soaked.
Coming to trust Jesus, coming to not leave our faith asleep in the back of the boat, takes a long time. It can take a lifetime. Or a serious storm.
“Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”
This is Jesus. Some days he calms the storms. Some days he lets the storms rage, and instead he calms his brothers and sisters.
Thanks be to God.