Rev. Andrew Cunnington
21st June 2015
My Boat is Not Small Enough

This was exactly our story less than a fortnight ago.

Our pilgrimage party was on the Sea Of Galilee, just like the disciples. and the waves were quite rough.

You could hardly say it was a storm, but the boat did toss on the waves, some spray came into the boat, and for a while it was not easy to stand up. You had to hold your hat down over your ears lest it be lost overboard.

We read this passage when we got to the middle of the Sea, but the waves did not die down for us, so we sang Dear Lord and Father of Mankind to the backdrop of wind whistling and waves crashing.

The truth was that we had a big sturdy boat. We were the only people on board. There was room for many more. The boat made us feel safe and secure. There was no way we were going to drown, so there was no need for any miracle.

I looked down into the water surrounding us though, and imagined the disciples in a very different vessel. It would have been a tiny rowing boat they would have been in. Probably without a sail, and they would have been jam packed in there, the twelve of them, with Jesus asleep in the stern.

That tiny boat would have certainly struggled in the water on the day we were there. The oars would have been almost impossible to manage. The fishing nets would have got in the way.

To cross from one side of Galilee to the other, took us an hour in a motor driven boat, it would have taken a complete day for them, had they indeed, made it alive.

We wonder why there are few miracles to be seen on the horizons of our lives. Why storms are not stilled for us. Why waves are not quietened. Why calmness and peace are experiences that elude us.

And maybe it is because we have built our own defences. The boats we ride in, are like ocean going liners, or speed boats. We cut through the dangerous waters of our life’s experiences through our own strength. We are people who often afraid, but we address that fear by building security around us. We do all we can to make sure we don’t fall victim of rough seas.

The disciples had their knowledge of local weather conditions, but that was manifestly not enough on this day. On this day, they were so vulnerable that all they could do was cry out to Jesus, and Jesus, seeing that they were completely disarmed, brought about the peace and the stillness for which we crave.

So this miracle story and my experience of it, makes me ask the question, how small and vulnerable am I prepared to become. How reliant on God’s grace am I prepared to me? For if I am prepared to go down into the water with him, and with him alone, I might feel his love more deeply, I might come to know what miracle is.

But I don’t do that. I build the sturdiest boat I can in which to travel, with the resources I have at my disposal, so that although I am safe, the storm does not die down and I make my prayers for the world into the sound of waves crashing and wind howling and wonder why it is they appear not to be heard.

MARK 4: 35 -41