When, in my about page, I ask you, my dear reader to “Please leave comments here or on facebook, I’d love to redraught my theology by engaging in coversation with you,” I actually mean it. Theology, that is to say, the study of God, happens always in conversation. Our Creeds, the ancient proclamations of our faith, were created in the midst of dialogue (sometimes polite, often polemic) between learned Christians who were earnestly trying to discern what were the essential beliefs about God.
This is in my mind everyday when I write, and though I have several lurkers, there a few who take the time to comment on a regular basis. On Monday, however, I was given a gift from my friend and Senior Warden, Wayne, who helpfully pointed me both to the end of Sunday’s pericope as well as a key point in his life. Since these comments are public, I’ll go ahead and quote it in full here.
“As a retired USCG officer who has spent many months at seas, that verse is very personal. And even when the winter storms of the North Atlantic were not calmed, I knew that He was holding our ship in His hands. If Jesus can calm the stormy seas, He can also calm the storms within our lives. And on those occasions when our personal storms do not seem to abate, He is still within us. Faith leads to peace.”
The question of the disciples, “Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?” is a question that proves to be as helpful as it is harmful. When, as Wayne suggests, God doesn’t show up to fix the problem – when people die, when marriages fail, when mental illness persists – the fact that “even the wind and sea obey Jesus” is of particular concern.
Why does God not fix my problem?
Wayne helpfully shows us a way to understand what happens in these circumstance. “On those occasions when our personal storms do not seem to abate, He is still with us.” The posture of the disciples on the ship helps us, too. Mark tells us that they were “in awe.” The Greek word is phobos, which means
1) to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away) 1a) to put to flight, to flee 1b) to fear, be afraid 1b1) to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm 1b1a) of those startled by strange sights or occurrences 1b1b) of those struck with amazement 1b2) to fear, be afraid of one 1b3) to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm) 1c) to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience
I’m drawn to 1c: to reverence, venerate. The Disciples here help us to see the posture we carry in good times and bad. God, the Creeds remind us, is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. He holds even the wind and waves within the palm of his hand. He holds our cancer, our anger, our fear, our mental illness, every piece of his creation within the palm of his hand. Our natural posture then should be that of awe and reverence. Or, perhaps better said by Wayne, “Faith leads to Peace.”