Last month an unpredictable storm in Oklahoma turned deadly on three professional storm chasers whose work had been featured on the Discovery Channel show. Some storm chasers are simply thrill-seekers while others put their life on the line to gather data that help us in weathering storms. Either as a scientific profession or a pastime, storm chasing is scary. Powerful storms evoke fear and for good reason.
I’ve never been to the Holy Land, but I’m told that violent storms can come up suddenly on the Sea of Galilee. Life-threatening tempests are caused by the geography of the area, which has steep hills on all sides of the lake. To give you an idea of the size of the Sea of Galilee, it’s about three times the size of Jordan Lake. If a storm arose quickly, it would be difficult to return to shore.
It’s no surprise, then, that we read stories about storms on the Sea of Galilee in the gospels. Click here to read the the account in Matthew, which we’ll read on Sunday. A furious storm arises and the disciples call for Jesus, asleep on the boat, to save them. Jesus gets up and readily calms the wind and the waves with his rebuke, and the disciples are amazed that “even the winds and the sea obey him.”
It is interesting that the ship was an ancient Christian symbol. Early Christians faced many “storms,” including persecution, arguments over belief, and the temptation of worldliness. It is no coincidence that in traditional church architecture, the nave (from the Latin navis for ship) is the main body of the church.
We’ll meet at the nave on Sunday to talk about how we cope with the storms that come our way because of our human existence. But we’ll also talk about the other storms we experience because we are navigating the seas-with Jesus. Of course the fact that Jesus is in the boat with us is good news. Very good news, indeed.
Peace in the midst of the storm,
P.S. Questions to ponder for Sunday:
How do you weather the storms of life?
Do those who follow Christ experience fewer or more storms in their lives?