All at Sea

Children, it seems, are pre-programmed to ask

Why,

it’s how they find out how the world works, how they begin to work things out for themselves.  If they know why, they can see how the rules work.

We all like to be able to explain things, to grasp what is happening, to just know what it’s all about.  It makes us comfortable when we can set something in its place.

Jesus Walks on the Water

45Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and start back across to Bethsaida. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. 46Then he told them good-by and went up on the side of a mountain to pray.

47Later that evening he was still there by himself, and the boat was somewhere in the middle of the lake. 48He could see that the disciples were struggling hard, because they were rowing against the wind. Not long before morning, Jesus came toward them. He was walking on the water and was about to pass the boat.

49When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost, and they started screaming. 50All of them saw him and were terrified. But at that same time he said, “Don’t worry! I am Jesus. Don’t be afraid.” 51He then got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. The disciples were completely confused. 52Their minds were closed, and they could not understand the true meaning of the loaves of bread.

The disciples find themselves again in a scary place.  They are struggling hard, rowing against the wind.  They are getting nowhere fast.

They must have been struggling hard in other ways too, trying to work out what all this that Jesus was telling them was about.  What was it going to mean to them?  They are all at sea in more ways than one.

Tom Wright writes a beautiful narrative on this passage (p 55-57), which needs no further comment from me.

He ends at the point that perhaps the things of God do not need to be explained, he doesn’t need that from us.  It isn’t a difficult calculation to be worked out, we do not need to explain it, just follow him.

There is a school of thought that says any god who we can explain, is not much of a god at all.  Who wants a god that small. God is much bigger than our comprehension, but also much bigger than any of our struggles.  And so, we can trust him, whatever new thing he is doing in us.

Tom’s prayer for today:

“Surprise us,

loving God,

with your unexpected power

and presence,

and help us not to be afraid

when you do new things

in our lives”

This year, I am again following the Big Read using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

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