A reading and reflection by Pippa Bonner
At the hospital where I am a volunteer on the Chaplaincy Team I sometimes ask a patient if s/he would like a Scriptural reading as part of the Eucharistic Liturgy. If they do not have a preference I often offer The Calming of the Storm where Jesus calmed the waves. It is written out in full further down the page.
I think the ups and downs of the stormy waves can sometimes reflect a Patient’s experience. The up and down of the waves perhaps images the ups of hope, recovery and good and compassionate care. The downs might be about pain, anxiety and uncertainty. I will usually listen and chat to a person first and try to get a glimpse of how they are without probing, and how much energy they have, before offering a Reading.
However if they would like to read or hear the Calming of the Storm I encourage them to imagine themselves in the scene, which is in the tradition of Ignatian spirituality. Are they in the boat with Jesus? Perhaps they see themselves in another boat, in the sea itself or on land watching the scene? I never ask them what they have chosen. And though the story is a familiar one to many, placing oneself in the scene doesn’t suit everyone.Jesus might seem a little severe at one point in the story, but is he taking command of a difficult situation and perhaps encouraging his disciples to wonder who he is? Personally I believe that Jesus, human and divine, as human, although compassionate, got tired and frustrated that the disciples were still untrusting and not apparently becoming aware of who he might be? Now, we are encouraged to believe the divine, Resurrected Christ unconditionally loves us and understands our fear and doubt at times when we are anxious and uncertain..
In the Corona Virus time of anxiety and uncertainty I offer this Reading to you. This translation is from The Jerusalem Bible.
The Calming of the Storm (Mark 4: 35-41)
With the coming of evening Jesus said to his disciples ” Let us cross over to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind him, they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, “Master, do you not care? We are going down.” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea: ” Quiet now! Be calm!” And the wind dropped and all was calm again. Then he said to them: “Why are you so frightened? How is it you have no faith?” They were filled with awe and said to one another: “Who can this be? Even the wind and sea obey him?”