“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

The sermon on Sunday morning was on Mark 4:35-41, Jesus calming the storm. Jesus persuaded his disciples to get into the boat and “go over to the other side”. That is, to transgress the division between Jew and Gentile and sail to the other side of the sea of Galilee. The sea itself, any sea, represented all the malign forces that lurk benaeth the waves. It’s a scarey scenario. This is what Jesus does, the preacher said. He calls us to transgress human boundaries for the sake of God’s love. And we find ourselves in the teeth of the inevitable storm, fearful for our survival. Jesus is asleep in on a cushion in the stern. We cry out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

The preacher reminded us that the ship is an ancient symbol for the universal church. It’s the symbol for the World Council of Churches and for many other ecumenical bodies. The service on Sunday also celebrated the 44th anniversary of the inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia. The penny dropped for me at that moment. The Uniting Church’s logo suggests the ecumenical ship. The unfinished U is the boat. The cross is the mast. The dove’s red wings are the sail. We are that ship going “over to the other side”.

And sometimes it feels as though the Uniting Church is being swamped in a storm. Jesus seems to be alseep in stern. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

The Biblical answer is twofold. First, Jesus calms the storm. That’s something he does, and we wait trustingly for that.

Secondly, he says “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Why so afraid? Because it’s scarey! No faith? Not at all. I’m still convinced that God has more for us to be and do in God’s mision https://wordpress.com/post/andrewfdutney.com/588.

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