Sunday, December 6, 2015

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Here in the dark, I cherish the moonlight
I'm in love with the way you're in love with the night
And it travels from heart to limb to pen...”

-Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem

Mark 4:1, “And again He began to teach by the sea...”

The sea is a fascinating concept in Scripture. From it's mysterious springs in the Garden of Eden that change into a 4 headed stream, watering the entire planet to the deep sea creatures mentioned in the Old Testament, old as time itself. Or we could look at the curious mention of the sea of glass and the elimination of the sea in the book of Revelation.

Have you ever noticed how Jesus interacted with the sea in His setting? He called fisherman to be part of his posse. He crossed by boat over the sea several times in the gospels, and a lot of strange things happened over those stormy seas, he helped fishermen with their catch and he skated across the waters like running through soft grass. He slept through hurricane winds and dared his disciples to join Him in stepping into the sea in the middle of the night.

The sea is a scary place. We need the things the sea offers, water, food, refreshment, cleansing, growth, and countless other necessaries. Yet the sea is a danger. You can walk for miles and miles by foot and if you get tired you can sit down. You can swim for miles and miles if your boat falls apart but if you don't have something to cling to you have no place to sit down. You will soon be overwhelmed by the waves and drown.

I don't know that we are as scared by the sea as people were in Jesus' day. Every time, every culture has their own fears that are unique to them. What are your fears? The night is a common one, full of the unknown, where dark creatures lurk. Is it something of a completely different variety? Such as people? Some people fear interaction with others more than death itself and it is a constant source of discontent in their soul. Or illness? Maybe someone in your family has a disease that is genetic and you fear becoming just like them. Much like the fictional Dr. Reid in Criminal Minds fears becoming just like his Schizophrenic mother.

What's interesting about Jesus is that He doesn't simply chase away those fears, He doesn't even chastise those who have them for having them. We see one such example with the sea in the Gospels. In Matthew 8 when the storm is raging and Jesus is sleeping and His sleep is interrupted He sleepily calms the storm and then gripes at the disciples, “Where's your faith?”...then he questions why they were afraid in the first place.

Notice the order. He reminds them of their faith and then laments why this is such a problem in the first place. Look through the Bible, the gospels in particular and see how Jesus interacts with fear and you might learn how to attack your own fears. We all have them. We are all disciples waking Jesus up, much as a child wakes a parent in the middle of the night to come into their bed and sleep with them.

Peter understood this and addressed it head on in 1 Peter 5….”Cast all your cares/fears/anxieties on Him for He cares for you...” I once heard in a sermon that I remember to this day that the purpose of this verse is not to diminish our fears and make light of them as if we are horrible for having them but to tell us where to place them because we all have them. As the preacher said, “You can't cast them if you don't have them...”

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