This Sunday during the sermon, we’ll look together at the long narrative of the rise of David as the greatest king of Israel. We’ll cover much of the story starting in I Samuel over the summer. We’ll open our Bibles and examine the pivotal place of this epic story in the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament.)
We also have an account of Jesus stilling a storm on the Sea of Galilee – one of many instances of this miracle throughout the Gospels. What can it tell us about the Christian life – walking with Jesus as our companion? Jesus and some of his disciples set out on a boat to cross the sea (a big lake really), and a squall comes up suddenly. Oddly, Jesus is sleeping through it – we are even told that he was in the stern of the boat, asleep on a cushion! The utter calmness of Jesus is contrasted with the churning of the storm, and the churning in the hearts of the disciples. They are scared to death! hey wake Jesus up; if they are afraid, then Jesus should suffer with them (misery loves company). Once awake, Jesus stills the storm in an instant.
Of course this parable is not just about a bunch of fisherman in a boat with their rabbi 2,000 years ago. It is about us. As followers of Jesus, we are in the boat with Jesus – we have cast our lot with him. And yes, the world is quite stormy. We are filled with anxiety, even though we are with Jesus. Why? Doubt, distrust, bad prior experiences all play a part. Our faith is so small and fragile that it is easily upstaged by thunder and lightning and waves crashing into the boat. Yet Jesus is with us, and Jesus is not troubled.
It seems to me that the spiritual challenge here is not to get the storm to stop (even though Jesus does this to relieve the immediate terror of his friends). The real challenge is to learn to ride out the storm in the boat with Jesus. We can learn a lot about life during the storm. And if we focus on Jesus’ presence and calm, we can begin to make his calm our own. That’s what faith in him does. JBM