I’ve been on a boat on at least two occasions when it was questionable whether we should have been out. The first time was thirty years ago when my mother treated us to a whale watching trip in southern California. We think our captain was a bit too eager not to lose his fee that day, and so we went out into waves that seemed as high as the boat cabin. My mother and I both tossed our cookies over the side, but Beth was happy as a clam as she viewed the whales. It’s her Swedish blood.
The other dicy occasion was more recent in 2002 when we took a car ferry from England to Ireland. Again, we think our captain had poor judgment. One of the two ferries decided not to sale, and we thought we were fortunate when ours went ahead. We weren’t quite so sure when the huge, usually rock-steady ship began to bounce enough that racks were falling over in the gift shop. We had Dramamine that time, but we abandoned our plan to have lunch on the ship during the ride.
Tourist boats and ferries do have mishaps and I’m glad we didn’t end up part of one. Water travel is subject to both the vagaries of weather and the failures of their human crews, much like our larger journey through life. The text this week from Mark 4:35-41 is a lesson on how the presence of Christ in the boat of life makes a huge difference.
The story of the stilling of the storm is pregnant with images that amuse and inspire, like verse 38 with Jesus calmly asleep in the stern as the storm rages. Overall it is part of the ongoing discovery by the disciples of just how awesome is the person with whom they have connected their lives.
As life’s storms rage around us and threaten our security, let’s reflect on the answer to the disciples’ question in verse 41, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” As we consider what we know of the answer, (much more than the disciples in the boat), let that knowledge of who Jesus is calm our storms.