Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sailing to the Other Side

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:18-27

I always loved sailing on the ocean. A close friend had a little sail fish boat and we would push her through the surf and climb aboard. The boat was little more than a glorified surf board with a center board and sail, but we would zip around the end of the cape listening to water as it was cut by the bow and watching the sun glisten off the waves as we moved. It capsized very easily and almost as easily righted itself with our help. It was no good in a storm and we knew to get off the water and head home when the winds kicked up hard.

Jesus, surrounded by a crowd, knew it was time to move to the other side of the sea. Many were caught up in the excitement of the event rather than understanding that God was drawing near. When we say yes to a relationship with God, we are often quickly find ourselves on troubled waters. Storms come up and we think God has fallen asleep or abandoned us. The followers of Jesus were afraid. The man who stayed behind to bury his father probably thought he had done the smart thing. All those disciples were doomed in such raging sea. But when we say yes, and climb in the boat, we find that God's power is with us, in the center of our storms breathing peace to even the wind and the waves. We are faced with unbearable challenges, rough, angry seas, but God promises to be with us bringing us great calm and getting us to the other side.

Today I ask God to bring me calm in this storm. May we, when our way ahead is not clear, and the water seems ready to overwhelm us, call upon the one who is the author of peace and calm. May the winds and waves of life be calmed by God's presence with us and may we offer that divine peace to the world around us.

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