These days, with so many radar systems, channels and apps at hand, we can track changes in weather 24-7. Yet, with all that information, we still can’t control where the winds may blow or when the rains and snows may fall. Neither can we always predict the kinds of figurative storms which sometimes arise within us when we’re frightened, hurt, angry or confused.
Then there are the insidious storms, the kind we don’t notice at first, as they drip, drip, drip on us so long we believe they’re a “normal” part of life. These storms — sometimes called crowd or mass consciousness — are those which espouse that “Everyone says”; “All of us believe”; “They all think”; “We’re all doing.” When I became aware of these storms, I began to wonder: Which Everyone, All, They and We are these?
Of all the storms we encounter on our life journeys, these figurative storms can be more threatening to our lives — and more deadening to our spirits — than a category 4 hurricane. They also can be the most difficult to weather because getting through them usually requires a course correction. Sometimes, in the midst of an insidious storm, we need to change direction or leave the beaten path for the road less traveled.
By the time Jesus teaches about this (see Mark 4:35-41), his disciples already are astounded by his power. On their travels to bring the good news of God’s divine kingdom to all who will listen, they get into a boat to go “to the other side.” Although they “leave the crowds behind,” they notice that other boats are with them, which reminds us that even when we choose to leave the crowds behind, we discover fellow travelers on the way.
During their journey, a great windstorm arises. Waves beat against the boat. Yet, Jesus sleeps comfortably until the disciples wake him and ask, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re perishing?”
Then he awakens, rebukes the wind, and says, “Peace! Be still!” The wind ceases, and all is calm.
He turns to the disciples and asks, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Then they’re awed and ask one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”
We may wonder: Did Jesus really stop the wind and sea? Perhaps. If we believe that Jesus acted like a mighty super hero, rather than a spiritual role model, maybe he did tell the wind and waves to be still — and they were. Though perhaps, when Jesus says, “Peace, be still,” the storm he really calmed was the fearful, worried one raging within the disciples as they journeyed in a new direction.
No matter what our life’s calling or which storms may rage around us, we too are assured: We have choices about how we’ll travel and how we’ll respond, no matter what everyone else says, believes, thinks, or does. As we center ourselves in stillness, with assurance and trust, we can continue faithfully on our way, leaving the crowds — and the storms — behind.
© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.