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Friday, March 13, 2015
Today’s Reading | Mark 6:47–56
When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. (NRSV)
“Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.”
This image spoke to me in a very powerful way this morning. In the midst of a blustery storm, Jesus combined the soothing words “Do not be afraid” and “he climbed in the boat” to be next to the disciples who were terrified.
Just as God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble, I believe that Jesus is teaching us about the importance of being present. Showing up and spending time helps the wind die down. We often worry about the “right words to say” to family, friends, colleagues going through a job loss, around-the-clock care-giving, disabling illness, death of a loved one. Jesus shows us that there are times to “get into the boat” and be next to, be present with, others in distress. Your silent presence in a terrifying and overwhelming situation can bring comfort in ways that words will never achieve.
Dear God, with you at our side, help us make time to be with others going through difficult and terrifying situations. Teach us how to bring comfort to others through silence and presence. Amen.
Written by Jeannine Forrest, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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