June 21, 2015
I’m sometimes curious about the details that evangelists choose to include … There are two details that intrigue and somewhat amuse me in this reading.
#1 Mark says “They took Jesus with them in the boat JUST AS HE WAS. What is being left unsaid … was Jesus half-asleep, half dressed, still talking to the crowd … they took him JUST AS HE WAS. If only we could be that accepting of others – take them just as they are. Not merely tolerating them, their behaviors and their attitudes – their differences – but really, full-heartedly accepting them and their individuality.
During our community days this summer we will have a session (with an outside facilitator) on generational differences and expectations. Our community’s median age is around 74. You know we have younger women expressing sincere interest in joining the community. They will come with their own, probably well-defined personalities, having been raised or worked in a society far different from the environment most of us were raised in. For the first time in our country, four generations are working side by side. I heard the comment on TV the other day that today’s young adults are not interested in perfecting existing athletic records. They want to try new – even risky – endeavors. It’s not a matter of rejecting or ignoring the past – like our history. The desire to try something new does not necessarily condemn the past nor belittle its achievements although sometimes the drive to make “my mark” can give that impression.
Different values, experiences, styles, and activities can create misunderstandings and frustrations. The interpretation of key elements of our life may differ …Consider, for example: balance of life, work ethic, fair share division of chores. It doesn’t mean the living out of values will fight with each other. There need not be a right-wrong conflict – there are shades of gray and more than one way to be “right.”
It will, however, require awareness, sensitivity and a genuine effort to develop mutual trust and respect. Awareness is the first step. A true attitude of open-handed and heartedness will be needed not to bridge the generations but rather to blend the generations. Goodwill can cover a multitude of situations but it will take education and a sincere personal effort to make us ONE community in mind, heart and spirit. “They took Jesus just as he was.”
The other detail that I found curious is the passing remark that Jesus was asleep on a cushion. Why was it so important to point out He had a cushion? Makes it sound like not everyone had a cushion – cushions must not have lined the hull of the boat … must have been waterproof. Having a cushion implies comfort, doesn’t? Jesus was sleeping like a baby unaware of the turmoil around him. Or was He? Was he peeking at them through a half-open eye? Was his ear attentive to the murmuring about him and his seemingly uncaring attitude?
When they had enough courage to rouse him, their words are telling. They are familiar enough to dare to wake him with words of reproach, questioning his care for them. They are hurt by His non-responsiveness to their needs? Reminds me of the Martha – Mary incident… and maybe sometimes ours “Why doesn’t she get up off her duff and help me … can’t she see I could use some help?!”
We are in the boat, the storms of life are raging around us, and like the disciples, we may believe that Jesus is unconcerned, or “sleeping.” We hope that we will be as familiar with Jesus as his disciples. If we feel that Jesus is sleeping, are we comfortable, are we as familiar with Jesus as the disciples, to rouse him and present him our needs? Jesus did not chide his disciples for waking him. Rather he chided them for their lack of faith.
Storms don’t worry Jesus. He’s right there in the boat with us, perfectly calm, not impatient, in no hurry for a solution or relief. He has one ready to hand us but how often do we tall God how to do things and then fret that God is doing nothing because it isn’t happening as we proposed?
The psalmist had a similar lament in Psalm 44: “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”
Our lived experience should teach us that we need to relax and take heart in knowing that Jesus isn’t scared of the storm, he isn’t depressed. He might be asleep, or he might not be, but either way, like the song says, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Even if he doesn’t wake up at our first call, we are safe with Him. He’s going to wake up and say to us: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have so little faith?”