2nd Sunday before Lent 27.1.13 Luke 8.22-25

26 01 2013

Amazing Calm

This passage has been selected to illustrate Jesus’ lordship over the created order. A deeper reading suggests that it might be about more than a bit of bad weather.

Calming the storm, Hitda-Codex,

Calming the storm, Hitda-Codex, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luke 8.22-25

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, 23and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A gale swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. 24They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?’

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

‘Head Questions’

  1. Can you point out where this event happened on a map?
  2. In Jesus’ time the sea would have been a place of malevolent spirits. Where is that place for you?
  3. What does it means to say that the wind and water obey him?

‘Heart Questions’

  1. How do you think Jesus felt, given that he fell asleep?
  2. Have you ever experienced a storm in a small boat? How did it feel?
  3. What’s it like when a storm ends?

‘Hand Questions’

  1. Jesus initiated a faith-testing journey for the disciples> Is he suggesting one for you?
  2. when you fear that you are perishing in one of life’s storms… how does your faith inform your actions?
  3. ‘Where is your faith’ today?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.

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Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday 24.6.12 Mark 4.35 – end

12 06 2012

The Authority to Calm

Mark’s gospel is a bit breathless. One thing happens right after another. But here Jesus seems intent on slowing the pace down. His project, if that is the word, seems to be relaxation. Alas it does not come naturally. It requires spiritual effort and the authority to calm.

Mark 4.35-end

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

Boat reflection

Boat reflection (Photo credit: Jesper Hauge)

Reflections and Questions

‘Let us go across to the other side’ v 35 Jesus is taking the initiative. He is the leader.

What sort of leader is Jesus at this stage in the gospel story? What can we learn about leadership from his example?

‘leaving the crowd behind.’ v 36. It is important not to miss this. Jesus had much to teach and give, as well as enormous capacity as a healer. But he also left people and moved on.

Is jesus giving an example of not needing to be needed here? Of not creating dependency? Why do you think Jesus left the crowds?

‘Peace, be still’ v39 Notice how positive Jesus’ words of rebuke are. He does not have an angry voice which makes for guilt, but an authoritative one that makes for calm.

What have been the most powerful words of rebuke in your life? Do you need to hear these three words of Jesus now?

‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ v40 Jesus is speaking to his frightened disciples here. The same question could be asked of many today

Are you afraid? Do you have faith? Who knows?