I was reading my Bible this morning while sitting on a bench in town. Its been hot recently, but today the weather is kind of…random. Clouds, then hot sun, then ominous clouds again… it’ll probably rain really hard, but it hasn’t yet. Anyway, I’m there, reading a passage from Mark’s Gospel (you know, the short one). Its in chapter 4, verses 35-41… you may know it as the ‘bit in the boat’, but which one? Well, this is the passage where Jesus is asleep in the boat, and the storm kicks up… his disciples are freaking out, and they wake him ‘we’re all going to die and you’re just snoozing!’… and instead of calming their hearts and telling them to be at peace, he speaks to the wind and the waves- ‘hush now, be quiet’.
Its one of the classic nature miracles- Jesus can control even the elements. If we’re uncomfortable about Jesus being the son of God, or the resurrection, or whole concept of Christianity, then this is just another lunatic idea, or myth that has no factual truth. If, however we’re ok with Jesus being a unique individual who somehow didn’t stay dead, who is in some way both human and divine, then being able to calm the winds is no big deal… and so this passage isn’t a deal maker or breaker for me- its truth stands or falls on other things around it.
Now, if you’ve read your Psalms, you might have come across passages about the stars and the heavens singing God’s praises. If you spent much time in church in the late 80’s you might have sung ‘and the trees on the hills will shout for joy’. If you’ve read the Gospels, when Jesus goes to Jerusalem before his crucifixion he tells the grumpy folk ‘if i tell the crowds to be quiet, the rocks will sing God’s praises’…
I guess what I’m working up to is that when I read this passage today, instead of seeing the wind and the waves as angry and dangerous- and any spirituality contained there as being in opposition to Jesus, I began to think of them as trying to get his attention. Like a dog that wants to be petted, or a child that wants to play… they’re jumping up and down in his presence ‘look, its Jesus- the Son of the Creator is here!!’
I know, we can anthropomorphise too much (humanise, in other words), but we’re all used to seeing the wind blowing a plastic bag playfully down the street (especially if you’ve ever watched American Beauty- a great film). If you’re used to being on the sea you’ll know there are angry seas and friendly seas, that waves can be joyful and play with you… I don’t know, this could be a load of garbage, but I’m intrigued by the idea that the very elements wanted to be with Jesus, just as the crowds followed him.
And maybe next time when I’m on a hillside singing in my head or praying on the water I’ll be reminded of this, and I won’t think I’m alone!