35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”
Jesus, help us to hear and heed your call to do great things: Help us to leave familiar shores behind and cross into the unknown territories with you.
36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was.
Jesus, help us to take you as you are and accept life on life’s terms. Save us from our own delusions and dreams.
Other boats were with him.
Jesus, everyone we meet is fighting a secret battle. Though we may often feel alone, we are never alone. You are with us always, and you also give us the gift of each other. Help us to reach out and ask for help when we need it.
37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.
Jesus, blowing wind and living water are common symbols for your Holy Spirit. Sometimes, you do things that are inconvenient for us and lead us into situations where we would rather not go. Help us to trust you, even when the wind and the waves threaten to break our little boats. And when these boats finally sink, show us how to walk on water.
38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;
Jesus, you show us that faith sometimes looks like sleep, that the most convincing speech is silence, and that stillness is the most effective course of action. Help us to rest in you, as in the eye of the storm.
and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus, we are so prone to panic that we forget who we are and who you are. Forgive us when we malign your character and strike the rocks to which we should speak. Help us to see that you do not actually care about the fate of our little, inconsequential boats, our false selves, our ego-attachments. SOS, Jesus: Save our souls, our true selves, and bring us safe and sound to the place you have prepared for us, where you are working in us greater things than we can ask or imagine.
39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”
Jesus, I wonder whether you are speaking to my circumstances or to me? Sometimes you calm the storm and sometimes you calm your child.
Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
Jesus, you speak your Word into the substance of the universe and creation takes on the qualities you carry within yourself: Shalom, Stillness. Speak, not only to the winds and waves of my life, but to me also. Make me more like you. Let me be the change I wish to see in the world.
40He said to them, “Why are you afraid?
Jesus, you are the great diagnostician. Your incisive questions cut to the heart of the matter and expose the sicknesses within us. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. You ask us these questions, not because you require information, but so that we might see ourselves more clearly. Help us to explore these difficult questions with you, that we might gain wisdom and insight. May your questions show us how our attachment to (and identification with) these little boats is keeping us from the peace we so desperately cry for.
Have you still no faith?”
Jesus, your questions are the surgeon’s scalpel. You cut straight to the heart of the matter. We are too caught up and identified with things that are not us. In spite of all the time we have spent sitting at your feet, we still have no faith. We still have no clue who you are, and therefore, we haven’t the faintest idea who we are.
41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Jesus, sometimes the beginning of faith looks like a really good question. Lead us, by the power of your infuriating sleepiness and the cutting of your questions, to ask better questions. Instead of “Do you not care?” let us ask, “Who then is this?” And may your silent response be all the answer we need.