“When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and Jesus was alone on the land. When he saw them straining against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea.” - Mark 6:47-48 (NRSV)
What is this story about?
It’s about being in big trouble and wondering if you’ll make it out alive. I've wondered that. Have you?
It's about the way you could believe you deserve it, you’ve been stupid and bad, it serves you right. I've thought that. Have you?
It's about beating back panic while you calculate your chances, bail water, offer a limb to any god in exchange for sunrise and the shore. I’ve bailed and bargained. Have you?
It’s about being so tired of rowing against the odds. It’s about who climbs into the boat against those odds, drenched with tenderness, for you. It's about the one who says, “Don't be afraid.” And “Peace, be still.”
It’s about how it feels when adverse winds subside. About being dazed by the calm. Do you know that feeling? What it’s like to live again after you’ve become accustomed to death?
It might be a story about you. I know it’s about me. And maybe for us all, its ending should be a beginning, the start of a new story about what happens now that we’re safe, now that we came out all right. A story about even bigger trouble.
The kind of trouble you get into when you realize there are still rowers out there, floundering and scared. The kind of trouble you get into when it occurs to you that maybe you could walk to them on water.
Thank you, Jesus, for rescue, company, and calm. Show me the floundering ones, still at sea. Get me back in trouble. Send me.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.