Just the handful of experiences in my life of being on a boat, have taught me to have a healthy respect for the sea! A walk along the rough Cornish coast or watching tsunami racing in-land on the news, will likely have the same effect on any of us.
For the Jewish audience, familiar with the imagery of the chaotic waters of creation and the violent Red Sea – Luke’s unsettling storm on the Galilee would have induced the same fear and dread.
For me, the real question is not ‘did Jesus still a storm?’, but whether the God who delivers people from forces beyond their control still acts to deliver those who call out in desperation today.
We humans really do like to be in control – or at least to feel that we are. That said, I suspect there is a nagging realisation deep within us that a great deal is out of our direct control; things that really scare us and that cause us to shout out ‘Master, master we are perishing!’: climate change, global injustice and poverty, division within communities – whatever it may be.
This then, is a story about faith and trust, and following the way of him who stills the storms. And as we know well, ‘following’ is not a passive activity.
If I ask of God, ‘do you still act to deliver those who call out in desperation today?’, I can be sure that the question is returned to me, as God’s answer.