Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalm 69, 73; Genesis 43:1-15; I Corinthians 7:1-9; Mark 4:35-41
Today’s Writer: Mark Hedrick
It is the time of year when many of us are looking forward to a trip to the beach – to smell the sea air, to look at a tranquil blue sea under a hot sun, to feel the sand beneath our feet. For Jesus’ disciples in our Gospel reading for today (Mark 4:35-41), however, the wind and sea are stormy.
Recall that in the Old Testament the sea is depicted as menacing and malevolent. God gathered the seas together to let the dry land appear in Genesis 1, making a barrier between the sea and land, yet the sea remained to menace the rest of creation. In the Psalms God is frequently shown to rule the sea, to be enthroned over the raging of the sea. In the books of Daniel and Revelation, it is from the sea that beasts arise to terrorize humankind (Dan. 7; Rev. 13). Thus the sea represents the chaos of evil, threatening to destroy God’s creation and people.
Back to our Gospel story – the disciples in fear and anger awaken Jesus, asking him if he cares that their boat is about to wind up on the bottom of the Sea of Galilee. And Jesus commands the winds and sea to be still – and the winds and sea obey Him. And he asks the disciples why they are afraid, why they have no faith.
As believers, this story is part of our individual stories. We too have and will face storms. The malevolence of the sea is still around us – but its ultimate power has been broken by our crucified and resurrected LORD. It’s ok then to cry out in our own fear and anger, because Jesus does care, does hear, will be with us, and ultimately will remove the evils that ravage his creation. Therefore, we have the foundation for living in faith, and not remaining stuck in fear and faithlessness. Don’t forget our hope – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more” (Rev. 21:1).
Image by Mikko Miettinen (used by permission via Creative Commons)