Weekly Lectionary is a series in which I look at and reflect on one of the lectionary passages for the upcoming Sunday. This week: the gospel passage of Mark 4:35-41 in which Jesus goes mano a relámpago with a storm.
Jesus calming the storm has always been one of those go-to stories of comfort for people. And why not? Storms are such a rich metaphor for the crap that we go through in life and here is a story in which Jesus literally shuts the whole thing down by telling it to stop. It's comforting. God is bigger than the problems that we face.
I think that is certainly part of what this story gets across. Yet reading Mark, I get the sense of that same idea--God is bigger--but conveyed in a different way; a more mysterious, frightening kind of way.
The disciples' response reminds me of the final line in the pilot episode of Lost, which is probably one of the greatest first television episodes of all time. Among other things that happen over the two hours, the characters find their plane crashed on a tropical island, a smoke monster kills the pilot, and a polar bear charges some folks in the middle of the jungle. Lots of stuff happens.
By the time we get to the very end, some of the survivors are standing on a hill listening to a looping transmission in French: "I'm alone now, on the island alone. Please someone come. The others...they're dead. It killed them. It killed them all." Upon this delightful discovery, Charlie looks around and wonders aloud: "Guys, where are we?" Boom. That's it. The line represented everything mysterious, strange, frightening, weird, and awesome about Lost.
That's the tone I hear as the disciples stand slack jawed over Jesus calming the storm. Who is this guy? Even the wind and sea obey him. Who has that kind of power? The tone I hear in my head is not necessarily safe and comforting. It's mysterious, frightening, weird, and awesome all at once.