As we are making our way through the Gospel according to Luke on our Lenten journey to Easter, there is one story which we will not get the chance to study in worship, but it is well worth mentioning now.
“One day He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, and while they were sailing He fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And He woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’ – Luke 8:22-25
This has always been a story that has bothered me; especially as it is presented in Luke. By the time we get to Luke 8, Jesus has healed many individuals and even raised a child from the dead. However, there is nothing said or done by this point which should have led the disciples to think that Jesus could control nature; i.e. calm the storm. Why does Jesus admonish them for having “little faith”?
To understand this, there is something else we must take into consideration. During Biblical times water, especially stormy waters, was a symbol for chaos. In Genesis, when we hear of God separating the waters to bring forth the sky and raise up dry land, this is less of a specific description of how our world was created and more of a story of how God brings order from chaos. For Jesus, His rebuke to the disciples is less about His ability to control the weather and more about His ability to bring order from chaos.
As you have most likely heard by now, I will be appointed to another congregation this summer. For some this has brought about feelings of sadness, disappointment, and/or anger. Some may be excited, but at least they are not sharing that with me! I believe this situation is an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate our faith. This is not to deny anything is changing or to believe things won’t be different. What is being given to all of us is an opportunity to show that despite this “storm” we believe God can bring order from it.
None of us know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. Irrespective of who the minister is here at St. Paul’s, we know Jesus is still Lord of all. Much will happen and change in the next three months, but if we all are open to it, God can bring order, and even redeem, whatever we are experiencing in any aspect of our lives.
Yours In Christ,
Rev. Kris Tate