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I don’t know if you have seen the advert for frozen oven chips ( french fries ) where a little girl is musing over whether she likes her Daddy or chips best of all. Throughout the advert she is thinking aloud, ’Daddy or chips ? Daddy or chips ?’. She is still thinking about this as she has a chip on her fork and her Daddy comes into the room. As he kisses his daughter, he quickly removes the chip from his daughter’s fork and eats it. She then says, in a resigned fashion, ’Chips’.
In today’s reading the disciples have to make a choice of ’Faith or Fear’. Much to Jesus’ disappointment, they choose the latter.
Situated in a basin surrounded by mountains, the Sea of Galilee is particularly susceptible to sudden, violent storms. Cool air from the Mediterranean is drawn down through the narrow mountain passes and clashes with the hot, humid air lying over the lake which is six hundred feet below sea level. This causes the violent winds that churn up the water.
They were undoubtedly in a fishing boat, probably belonging to Simon Peter or James and John. This would have seated about twelve people, with no sails. There were cushions at the stern, which Jesus slept on ( Mark 4:38 ).
Some of the disciples were experienced fishermen. They had weathered some storms, but this one was unexpected. They normally came in the day but we know from Mark’s account that this happened in the evening. It must have been a really ferocious storm too, because they were really frightened.
. In verse 24 they say to Jesus; "Master, Master, we’re going to drown!"
The disciples looked to the immediate; the winds, the waves, and the water coming into the boat. They thought of themselves, "we’re going to drown!"
Their attitude contrasts with that of Jesus. He was asleep after a hard day of teaching his disciples and crowds of people ( Mark 4 ). We might think that it would be difficult to sleep on a boat during a storm. But, after Chloe’s birth three months ago, I have been reminded just how tired one can be and how easy it is to fall asleep !
This is a reminder of our Lord’s humanity. Maybe it also showed his faith in God’s purpose and power.
However, only Matthew’s gospel features an appeal to Jesus to help, 8:25; The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!"
Mark has the disciples rebuking Jesus, 4:38; The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?" This certainly points to a failure of the disciples to appreciate whom they were addressing.
Being afraid is not always a bad thing, it can save us from dangerous situations. When we are in difficult situations being afraid can lead us to trust in something or someone beyond ourselves.
I was shopping in Burtons in the Potteries Centre in Hanley.
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