March 7, 2021
Bulletin & Hymns:
We continue our Lenten series of looking at what it means to be a disciple in the gospel of Mark. Last week, we heard Christ call a group of fishermen on the shore, and now we’re going to join this same group out on the water. May God bless our reading of the Word:
- After a day of preaching and teaching the crowds, I imagine Jesus was looking forward to the peace of an evening sail. In this time before electric lights or motors, imagine the quiet of being out on the open water, hearing only the breeze creak the sail and the waves lap at the hull. Imagine seeing nothing but deep darkness and above you stars that stretched from horizon to horizon. What does it tell you that even Jesus needed these times of rest and sleep as he carried out his ministry? Why are Sabbath practices important to the spiritual life? Do you make them a priority in your routine?
- Sailors need wind; without it they don’t get very far. But, too much wind quickly becomes a problem! “A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was being swamped!” Has ‘too much of a good thing’ ever been a problem in your life? How do we learn to live in balance and moderation with these things?
- The disciples were experienced fishermen, used to sailing at night and likely having weathered storms before. Imagine how they felt being tossed around on the water in the dark. How long do you think it took for them to become afraid; how long would it take you? How many things might they have tried before they woke Jesus? Are there times when you’ve tried to fix something yourself, only to realize you need to ask for help? What did you learn from that experience?
- Despite all the chaos around him, Jesus is asleep in the stern (‘on the cushion’ v.38 – a rare detail from Mark, unique to this gospel). They wake him and ask one of the quintessential questions of the faith: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” How often have you been in a difficult or scary time and wondered whether or not God cared? How do you pray when that’s the case? What sort of answer did you receive?
- “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” (verse 39). When Jesus says ‘peace,’ he quiets not just the storm but also the disciples’ fears. This is the Lord of creation evoking shalom, the fulfillment of the way all things are supposed to be. Where have you experienced Christ’s peace lately? How do you share that peace with others?
God doesn’t ever promise us ‘smooth sailing’ in our discipleship; we all face the storms life throws at us. But, our faith affirms that the God who created the universe, who commands the wind and waves, does indeed care about each one of us. I pray you feel God’s love and peace through both the sunny and stormy days of this Lenten season.
Blessings to you all,
Pastor Maggie Rust