In a different boat from Jesus

Nov 15th, 2006 | By | Category: Spirituality

On Sunday evening there was an exercise in Lectio Divina at church. The Scripture was a familiar story, the calming of the storm from Saint Mark’s Gospel Chapter 4:

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Anyone who attends church regularly will have heard the story countless times through the years. I remember using it to lead meditations, yet on Sunday I noticed a sentence that I could not remember reading before – “There were also other boats with himâ€?. Perhaps there had always been so much concern with the extraordinary elements of the story that the more mundane details had been overlooked.

A fascination grew with these other boats. Who was in them? Where were they going? What were there thoughts on the incident?

Perhaps it’s not important. It’s like asking what Jesus wrote in the sand when confronted by the woman taken in adultery.

Perhaps it could be important if it helps us to gain insights into Jesus. Few of us would rank amongst the closest of Jesus’ disciples. We are at the edge of the crowd. Maybe we’re not even in the crowd; we are onlookers to the drama, viewing from a safe distance.

The other boats, were they filled with safely distant onlookers? Were they the people who feared getting too close to Jesus?

What happens when you’re at a distance? You miss the action, you miss what is going on; you miss the opportunity to be first hand witnesses. Being in another boat meant enduring the same storm as those in Jesus’ boat without having the reassurance of his presence. It meant sharing the experience of the ensuing calm without being aware of Jesus’ power.

Being in another boat crossing the sea would have been a warning against saying one was a friend of Jesus, while not staying close to him

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