Sunday Readings: Job 38.1,8-11; 2 Corinthians 5.14-17; Mark 4.35-41
As evening came Jesus said to his disciples — “Let us go across to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, his disciples took Jesus with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A terrible windstorm arose, and waves beat into the boat so that it was being swamped. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion; the disciples woke him up. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?”
Jesus awoke, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea — “Peace! Be still!” Then wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?” -Mark 4.35-41
In the musical “Hamilton” after Aaron Burr kills Alexander, his wife Eliza has the final song — “Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?” Eliza lives another 50 years, helps plan the Washington Monument, founds an orphanage, speaks out against slavery. She tells her husband’s story.
Jesus is the person in the gospel who lives, who dies, who is raised up to new life. Jesus also doesn’t tell his story; his eyewitness disciples do. Those who witnessed his healing and forgiving actions become the proclaimers of his good news. Their preaching and storytelling create communities of believers who tell and shape the oral traditions as they gather in Jesus’ name and break bread together as he asked.
Forty years later Mark gathers the oral traditions about Jesus and writes the first gospel, which travels through the centuries. Sunday’s sea crossing is a story to which Christians of every generation can relate. A boat full of disciples gives us an image of Church, of Christian believers traveling the seas of time and facing storms that raise our fears and call us to faith.
At Jesus’ request the disciples are heading for the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the Gentile side. The destination hints the role of Jesus’ followers to bring his good news to the nations. Jesus sleeps in the boat as waves roll over the sides. The disciple’ prayer is as desperate as ours sometimes are: “Don’t you care that we’re perishing?” Jesus calms the storm. The disciples more from fear to awe, the threshold of faith: “Who is this that even the wind and sea obey him?”
How have your experiences of awe affected your faith? How do you tell and live Jesus’ story?