The Seasick Puzzle (or a storm in a tea cup?)

11 08 2011

I don’t do boats.  Even looking at a boat gentle rising and falling at its mooring makes me queasy.  So I have a certain affinity with the disciples in the story that Luke narrates in Luke 8:22-25.

Jesus and his disciples take a boat trip across the lake and Jesus lies down for a nap.  He’s relaxed, knowing that he is in good hands – he is with experienced fishermen after all.  They must have been used to handling a boat in a storm, but when this baby comes, they panic.  And with good reason – “they were in real danger.”  They shout at Jesus to wake him, warning him that they are going to drown.  (It’s not clear whether they expected him to intervene, or whether it was a wakeup call to share their terror.)

Jesus is calmness itself.  He rebukes the wind and the waves, the storm subsides and peace is restored to the boat. 

But it’s not all peace for the crew.

Yes, the storm has stopped.  Yes, the boat is no longer listing dangerously.  Yes, they are safe.

But they have encountered Jesus at work in a way that shakes their inner “teacup” world.  They are left questioning, “Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?”

Which is the worst storm – the physical tossing of the boat, or the inner rocking to Jesus question, “Where is your faith?” 

He still asks probing questions.

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