Year B Proper 7 Mark 4
Calming of the Tempest
Mark 4:35-41

Victor Hugo, who is famous for his novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame, also wrote a story called "Ninety-Three." It tells of a ship caught in a dangerous storm on the high seas. At the height of the storm, the frightened sailors heard a terrible crashing noise below the deck. They knew at once that this new noise came from a cannon, part of the ship's cargo, that had broken loose. It was moving back and forth with the swaying of the ship, crashing into the side of the ship with terrible impact. Knowing that it could cause the ship to sink, two brave sailors volunteered to make the dangerous attempt to retie the loose cannon. They knew the danger of a shipwreck from the cannon was greater than the fury of the storm.

That is like human life. Storms of life may blow about us, but it is not these exterior storms that pose the gravest danger. It is the terrible corruption that can exist within us which can overwhelm us. The furious storm outside may be overwhelming but what is going on inside can pose the greater threat to our lives. Our only hope lies in conquering that wild enemy.

Unfortunately storms that rage within us cannot be cured by ourselves. It takes the power of God's love, as revealed in Jesus Christ. He is our only hope of stilling the tempest that can harm our souls and cripple our lives.

That's what the disciples learned this day on the Sea of Galilee. They thought the danger lie outside the boat. They would soon learn the real danger lie within the boat, within their own hearts. In a word, they lacked faith. And without faith their lives were at risk to the storms which would inevitably come. And come they did and come they will. So what can we learn from this boat ride in the storm?

  1. Storms Come Suddenly.
  2. Storms Can Make You Lose Direction.
  3. Our Fear of the Storm Has the Power to Paralyze.

The Ride of Your Life
Mark 4:35-41

This is Father's Day, and we welcome and celebrate our fathers.

Dads are different than Moms. They parent differently. They protect differently. They teach differently. Moms buy bumper pads. Dads buy Band-Aids. Moms schedule "play days." Dads encourage "throw-downs." Some of you are not going to be happy about this, and of course there are lots of exceptions, but overall there just do seem to be different styles inherent between Moms and Dads.

Moms like to invest in lots of protective gear. Bike helmets, knee pads, water wings. Dads tend to be both hands on and hands off. Swimming lessons, but then a white water raft trip. Bike-pushing, followed by a mondo mountain bike trail. Bigger knee pads, then diving into the deepest drop at the skate park. Moms say, "You worried me so much!" Dads tend to say, "Don't worry too much!"

Kids need both kinds of parenting. That is the most difficult challenge for single parents, a challenge that can be met and is being met my many single parents in this church. But it's a challenge nonetheless: to find a way, or a person, to bring in all the possibilities and probabilities that are part of the richness of having both a Mom and a Dad to engage the lives of children.

I thank God Dads are optimists. Dads take chances based upon skills and knowledge they know they possess and they trust they have taught to the next generation. I thank God for all Dads who offer this gift of confidence. A gift of conviction. A gift of risk and courage based on trust. It is a gift every child needs from someone.

In the context of the culture of his day, Jesus loved like a mother, and taught like a father. He didn't have his disciples sit in a yeshiva learning Torah tidbits. Jesus took his disciples to "work" with him, to apprentice with him, so they could learn by doing. Like all children, the disciples got it "wrong" a lot of the time. That's why in Mark's gospel the disciples are often called the "Duh-sciples." Today's gospel lesson shows just how "duh!" they could get.

After a long exhausting day Jesus and the disciples get in a boat and start across the Sea of Galilee, heading out into open water. Jesus conked out, contentedly curled up on a cushion in the wind-sheltered stern of the boat. But a storm kicks up, and pretty soon the storm is kicking the boat all over the place... presents Leonard Sweet