In the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, where is your peace to be found? In our bible reading, we find Jesus and his friends on a boat. Clearly Jesus is exhausted for he is fast asleep, in the middle of a wild storm. The disciples are terrified; they are certain that everyone is going to drown. They wake Jesus with their cries: ‘Peace! Be still!’ Jesus commands the wind and the waves and calm descends. His trust in God is absolute and in marked contrast to the very understandable panic of the disciples. The disciples are well aware that in the Hebrew Scriptures the sea is the place of chaos. They are therefore even more awe-struck by what Jesus has done. They don’t yet recognise who Jesus is. But they do recognise his power and redemptive grace in ‘rebuking’ the wind and waves and saving them from their fear.
Mark is writing for an early Church whose communities are experiencing fear and disorientation. This story would resonate with first century Christians and all those throughout the ages who are persecuted and threatened. It’s a story that also reverberates with us today. Mark shows how the Kingdom of God breaks into the chaos of the world in and through the person of Jesus. In his book, Meeting God in Mark, Rowan Williams again reminds us that God does not step down from heaven to solve problems in grand gestures. Rather, as Williams’ writes: ‘God is at the heart of the world, holding the suffering and the pain in himself and transforming it by the sheer indestructible energy of his mercy.’
In this past 15 months or so, we have all been buffeted by particular storms and they look set to continue for a while longer. In time honoured fashion, we join the psalmists in lament. We add our voices to those of the disciples in our fear that we may at times sink beneath the waves. We listen for the promise of Jesus whose passion, death and resurrection ensures not only our salvation but the salvation of the world.
May the peace of Christ be with you.
Rev Canon Nikki Arthy, Rector