Friday, March 9, 2012

Calming Storms

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41

When we were kids there was a huge picture window over the kitchen sink. It faced west, towards the Delaware Bay and we could watch sunsets and all sorts of cloud formations through that window. When big storms were coming, with thunder and lightening at night, my Dad would line up the chairs in rows facing the window and we would watch the spectacle of nature, like enchanted kids at the movies. We would cheer and laugh and roar with delight. Sometimes we would even make popcorn for the show. From our safe distance we could enjoy the storm in all it's brilliance and majesty. What I have learned from these past stormy days of healing and recuperation, my lenten journey, is that the experience is very difference when you are on the water in a little boat. Every moment and every breath is clinging to life and every word is a prayer.

The disciples were people used to being on small boats in big storms. The storm that took them by surprise was more than their skill and experience combined could handle. They knew from a life time of experience that this was life threatening and impossible to survive. They woke Jesus who took control of the wind and the waves and went back to sleep. Their marvel, and wonderment was combined with confusion and lack of how to understand what had just happened to them. God heard their prayers, and put the power of love in between them and destruction, which is God's constant activity, God's constant desire for us. God was in the midst of them.

Today, I ask God to give us all the strength to hold on, no matter what we are facing, trusting that God is with us, taking hold of the wind and the waves. May we cling to the knowledge that God is bigger than what we face today, and will see us through the pain and dislocation, bringing us to new compassion, new insight and a snug harbor to call home.

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