Summary: A Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost where Jesus stills the storm on the Galilee. The central theme is that the real "danger" is the transforming power of Christ, not the storm.
The Other Side
of the Lake!
Sermon on Mark 4:35-41
June 25, 2006
Rev. J. Curtis Goforth, O.S.L.
“And Jesus said to them,
‘Let us go across to the other side.’”
The last week of June is upon us already. And, for Methodist ministers, that means it is moving time in the conference. I remember it was about this time last year when I first came to Badin. I find it almost impossible to believe that next week will mark the one year point in our time together. It is amazing what happens in the short span of just a year, isn’t it? I hope you all have learned as much as I have.
This time each year, it never fails that Methodist ministers that are moving will be looking all over the internet and the newspapers trying to find out all they can about where it is they will spend the next years of their life. It is a very exciting time when we look forward to what God might have in store for us in the next chapter of our lives.
Well, even while I was still over in England, I did some research on the internet about our lovely little town. I wanted to see what was in store for me on the other side of the lake that separates England from America. And the first thing I discovered about Badin was not Local Legends, or ALCOA, or that there was no mail delivery or trash pick-up, or that it was a national historical site. The first thing I discovered about Badin was that it was situated on Badin Lake.
Ah…the lake. Well, my mind filled with images of a multi-million dollar waterfront parsonage, with a yacht big enough to accommodate a bible study group. I could almost see the dock made of Brazilian cherry and mahogany. I could already taste the freshly grilled pecan-crusted trout. But I knew that the good people of Badin United Methodist Church wouldn’t want their pastor swimming in the muddy waters of a lake. So, I envisioned the Olympic-sized swimming pool in the shape of a cross where the UMYF would gather on occasions. I could visualize great ministry opportunities for our church since I knew we would have a problem trying to decide how to spend all the money we had. I had already decided that I would turn down that $52,000.00 raise this year.
You know, it’s amazing what the image of a lake brings to mind. Our minds are bombarded with visions of sunburn and sunscreen, with scenes of canoes and speedboats, with images of fishing and swimming and fun. There is a beauty to the shimmer of the reflecting mountains and sunset in the water with all the pinks and blues and purples that paint a picture for us that is so peaceful and calm and tranquil.
But then there’s also another picture that comes to mind when we think of water. Water reminds us not just of tranquil lakes and mountain streams but also of broken levees and flooded streets. Water reminds us of cooling, refreshing rain; but it also reminds us of damaging downpours, of flash flooding, of streams that swell into rivers that threaten our homes and our loved ones. Water is soothing, but water can also be treacherous. Water is life-giving and nourishing, but water can also take life and deplete.
Our gospel lesson reminds us of this well-known truth about water. Jesus and the disciples get in their boat and head toward the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is tired and in the only place in Scripture we ever hear of it, Jesus is sleeping on a cushion at the rear of the boat. But, during his nap time a great storm comes out of the middle of nowhere and tosses the ship around. The storm grows stronger, the waves get higher, the wind blows harder, the boat begins taking on water, and this group of seasoned Galilean fishermen start to think that they might be about to meet their ends at the hands of this storm. These disciples are really scared and they look to Jesus to see what to do. And Jesus is still asleep!
You can almost hear the sarcasm in the voice of the disciple who wakes Jesus up and says to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” I think what that disciple was trying to say was “Get to work and help us bale some water out of the boat or else we might all die!” Again, you can almost see the newly awakened Jesus rise to his feet and calmly speak to the wind and the water and tell them to be peaceful and still once more. We are told that after Jesus rebuked the wind and the water that there was a dead calm.