Bible: Mark 4:35-41
35 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?'
Going to the "other side," has a ring to it in our time; a kind of crossing over to difference. There was certainly difference on the other side; the story of the Gerasene demoniac follows this story! If we set our mind to do great things, should we be prepared for violent, even elemental opposition?
Asleep to the wind is perhaps the same as being untroubled by it. The lesson, of course, is that he could control even the wind and the sea, elemental forces. Forces that shape our lives, and may even end them, are trifling for this man. They obey him. He is not merely a teacher of troublesome stories. He is a man of power. This story introduces the stories of the demoniac, and the raising of a girl (and women) from the dead.
Experientially, "rebuking the wind," and confronting life's challenges, can lead to a great calm. I once went for my daily swim, to discover muddy three metre surf pounding our local beach. My normal kilometer along and back the beach was impossible. Then I saw kids on body boards out on the highest waves and thought, "Why can't I go out there!?" So I did, confronting a long held fear of the deep. Out in those waves, rising and falling with them, there was a dead calm. It was the most odd quiet; like being in a park with the traffic roar muted by the trees. It was so quiet I could hear little splashes next to me, not the roar of the surf I expected. I felt calm, relaxed pleasure, instead of the struggle to stay afloat which I had also expected.
Direct Biblical quotations in this page are taken from The New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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