“Why are you afraid?” …
The Sea of Galilee is a vast inland sea, set in rugged craggy mountains and the gentle sloping hills of the surrounding districts where Jesus exercised his ministry. The grassy hill where the sermon on the mount took place above the shores of the sea as did the feeding of the 5000, and his teaching, healing and more intimate moments with his disciples and family members.
The Sea of Galilee as we learn, becomes the place of departure and retreat from the crowds and is used many times as a place of encounter, teaching, feeding and gathering, which both nourished and raised the expectations of a people hungry for justice, freedom and the truth that ultimately set a people free to become the children of God and ultimately the church.
However, we know, it came at a price and hung on the ability of those first disciples to learn over and over again of the incarnational grace of God in a troubled and turbulent world, and to be finally sustained by a faith established by the radical and sometimes confrontational love of Jesus who simply remained calm in the presence of any worldly danger pointing us to a God who saves in the midst of the extreme calamities which confront us in our human journey.
Jesus sleeps soundly in the midst of a storm and as the disciples scared, cry for help, they express a modicum of faith in believing Jesus can save them. It’s a teaching moment, and in the midst of a raging sea storm he rebukes first the disciples and then the storm.
“Why are you afraid?”
I’d imagine for them, the heaviness of this journey, their euphoria in taking up the risk to follow this radical, their personal insight into the special nature of this man, the responsibility in ‘being’ one of the chosen 12, even against the many other followers, had put them in a position of privilege as well as simmering fear for the ‘what’s next’ in their extraordinary journey.
Coming to faith is not just simply about believing, but the risk of doing, acting in faith, stepping out, of the boat, trusting that the end result will bear fruit. It is a reminder in our own faith journey, that ultimately it’s not just about us personally, but also the expectant crowds who seek Jesus too, our responsibility as disciples to take Jesus to others in believing and trusting that what we do and the risk of our undertakings will bear fruit and bring peace in Jesus name.
God calls us through the life and story and example of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our relationship with God is founded in the human example of Jesus Christ who was in the storm on the sea and experienced every moment of life as we know it. As we step out and experience this world, may we be open to the encounters that allows us to both call on and name Jesus as our present companion, our guide and our peace.
‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you, I have called you by your name, you are mine.’
Blessings on this beautiful day, and happy Father’s Day to all who are called to this great responsibility.