Daily Lesson for May 17, 2017

Today’s Daily Lesson comes from Luke chapter 8 verses 22 through 25:

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, 23and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A gale swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger.24They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?’
There is the big miracle in this story, the one which is most visible and most memorable — the stilling of the storm. Yet behind that is the smaller miracle, which though less visible, is when one really pauses to think about it no less astonishing than Jesus’ stilling of the storm. I am talking about Jesus’ stillness in the storm.

Waves crashing, winds whipping, thunder and lightning over head — everything is out of control. The little boat — a symbol of the church or the home or the business — caught up in the storm and completely out of control. This is chaos; everything is spinning, and topsy turvy, and even if they knew which way to go, there is no way now to get there, no way to steer the little dinghy of a boat. Yet Jesus is still, calm, at peace enough to sleep through it all.

That’s infuriating to the crew. They rouse him in terror. In Mark’s version of this story they rouse Jesus with anger and pointed fingers, “Don’t you care?” And yet Jesus’ calm remains; he absorbs their hostility and does not return it. I think of Kipling’s words:

“If you can keep your head
when all about you are losing theirs —
And blaming it on you . . .
You shall be a man my son.”

The boat is swamped. Curses fly. The storm rages. Yet, Jesus is calm. He is calm amidst the storm. He is the calm amidst the storm.

I don’t believe the big miracle — the stilling of the storm — would ever have happened without the smaller miracle — the stillness in the storm. And so maybe that’s what we should pray for first, not the power to rebuke the winds and the waves, but the peace to go ahead and sleep when all is chaos and confusion; for we shall never be able to bring calm to the chaos around us, if we do not first have calm amidst the chaos within us.

And Jesus said, “Peace, be still.”

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