Friday, June 19, 2015

Boating with Jesus

Mark 4:3541

35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But 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?" 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
This is a model of the "Jesus Boat" which was discovered in 1986, during a period of drought which exposed a fishing boat of that era. It is the kind of boat Jesus and his disciples would have been in the above gospel story.

The Sea of Galilee is a small lake which is 33 mi. x 13 mi.  It is located in a depression some 700 ft. below sea level and is surrounded by hills. Frequently a rush of wind and the right mix of temps can cause a storm to come suddenly on the lake. Storms on the Galilee were known for their suddenness and violence. The little boat being tossed around in a big storm was a terrifying experience, at least for the disciples it was. Jesus was sound asleep, confident in God's care.
There is a prayer, the Breton Fisherman's Prayer, that is so appropriate as we think about this gospel passage. Part of it goes like this, "Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small." The boats of our lives may be storm-tossed, but the Lord who stills the storm is in our boats as well.

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