A cushion on which to lay our heads

Pentecost 3 – 2009

Mark 4:35-41                                                                                                                                                                                        Marian Free

In the name of God who calms our fears and rides with us through the storms. Amen.

“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 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. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”

Many of us will be familiar with today’s gospel from our Sunday School days. The story is one that can be told with great drama. Our teachers will have inspired us with wonder that Jesus so powerful that he was able to still the storm. This, in fact, is the message that Mark intends: “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Jesus’ influence over the natural elements of the world would have been evidence of his power in a first century world – convincing evidence of his divinity.

What amazes me though, is not that Jesus stills the waves or that he has control over the environment. (Why didn’t he stop the tsunami?) What amazes me is that in the midst of a great gale which causes his fishermen friends to be terrified, Jesus is asleep. The boat is already being swamped and yet Jesus is asleep on a cushion. (I love that detail!) Jesus’ confidence in God is such that he can sleep when everyone else is in fear of their lives. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to him to be worried. Jesus knows – as Paul does later – that whether he lives or dies, he is in God’s hands and that being in God’s hands is a pretty good place to be.

There are a great many things and situations which cause us to worry – our health, our employment or lack of it, our children (parents), the state of the economy – the list is endless. If Jesus can hand over all his cares to God, why can’t we?

The cushion is there in the boat, just waiting for us lay down our heads.


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