Mark 4:35-41 (NRSV)
Jesus Stills a Storm
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But 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?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
“Have you still no faith?” What an admonition for his disciples! How cleverly Jesus asked a rhetorical question that holds within it the seeds of a challenge to believe, to trust, to show our faith in God. As the Epistle of Mark recounts the story, Jesus and his “fishers-of-men” disciples have just completed a long day of preaching the gospel and telling of parables to the growing crowds of his followers. They take to a boat to head across (we suppose) the sea of Galilee, where the next day they will teach and preach again. They are tired but are also buoyed up from listening to their teacher’s words.
Yet, when a windstorm and a violent sea begin to threaten them, they are filled with fear. In desperation they awake Jesus and plead for him to calm the wind and waves. We are left to wonder why one of the disciples did not shout to calm the sea and winds. If maybe, just maybe, those disciples had held onto their faith they would not have had to awaken Jesus to save them. After all, they were in the hands of the God in whom Jesus encouraged them to fully trust.
Today we often find ourselves trying to navigate through the turbulent seas of our daily concerns and crises. In confronting these Monday-morning challenges, like Christ’s disciples before us, we too often turn from the faith we profess confidently in Sunday morning worship. The only certainty that we know is that by not exercising our faith in addressing daily trials and tribulations, we will never discover that God is there to give us the capacity to struggle on. Let us hold onto our Sunday Morning faith whatever may be the challenges that await us Monday morning and beyond. Let us look more to our faith to calm the tempests of our lives!
Living God, we confess that we do not have sufficient faith to fully trust your wisdom. We recognize that by Monday morning our Sunday morning devotions to you have already begun to dissipate. But none of our earthly trials and internal torments comes close to the scorn and agony that your son suffered on the cross for our salvation. We too often fail to follow the example of the faith he held in you. We praise you for your patience and understanding when our professions of Sunday morning faith devolve into Monday morning weaknesses, frustrations, and forbearing. We commit to you with all our souls to struggle relentlessly to still the storms within and around us that challenge the faith that unites us to you. Amen.