20 June 2021Mark 4:35-41
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. (v. 38)
Today's reading was once the passage in a ‘Telling a Bible Story’ competition in a circuit Eisteddfod, way back, when such things were standard. I have loved the passage ever since – the judges pointed out that I "was the only one who said that Jesus was was asleep, the other competitors just woke him up."
Noticing that Jesus is asleep seems like a little thing, until you consider that it is also about presence. Or the lack of absence.
The disciples would know that a furious squall was coming and it spelled danger. They were well acquainted with the sea and knew all its ways. Experience told them that this weather was bad news.
This reminds me of the amount of times I’ve been told as a minister that a church has tried something 'and it didn’t work'. The saints’ experience shows that a particular course of action was a waste of time. And the saints are right. Except for when Jesus is truly with you. When he has assented to be with you on the journey and is so confident, in fact, that he can sleep easy in the stern, everything is different. The impossible and dangerous without Jesus becomes supremely possible and secure within his presence.
I was excited to be on the Sea of Galilee on a little tourist boat when, in the middle of the lake, a very fresh breeze sprang up and blew away a few people's hats, rocking the boat from side to side. I remembered this Bible story and the difference that having Jesus with us makes. It made me happy to truly know the answer to the disciples’ question "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (v. 41).
- How confident are you that Jesus is with you in your current tricky journey? What do you notice about the situation that gives you confidence that Jesus has it in hand?
- A few years ago, a church had difficulty with the city planning people and was threatened with demolition. I had a sense of assurance that God’s blessing was on the building and that Jesus was very much present in this particular storm. We had no show or spectacle in this battle, just many many prayers. Then one day, the local newspaper rang up to say did we know the order had been lifted? It was most unspectacular yet wonderfully holy.
- The lack of absence meant that Jesus was really there. When have you noticed Jesus’ lack of absence in your personal storms?