Reflection for Trinity 3 20 June 2021

On that day, when evening had come, Jesus 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 gale 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?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’

Mark 4:35-41

Calming-the-Sea

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

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