In the Gospel story about the storm on the lake and the terrified disciples thinking they are going to drown, it first appears the main challenge was the storm (Mark 4:35-41). Perhaps the real challenge was whether or not to cross to the other shore in the first place. Staying on the shore, the disciples knew what was there. Deciding to leave the shore and cross to the other side, they did not know what they would encounter along the way, calm waters, stormy waters or both? They also did not know exactly what they would find once they arrived.
In the story, Jesus tells the wind and the waves to be quiet and the storm stops. That is powerful. At the same time, a deeper significance to the story is that Jesus asks the disciples to cross to the other shore and then he falls asleep, as if he does not care what happens to them. Perhaps in this we are invited to hear Jesus saying to trust in his presence with us in the big decisions of our lives, even though it may seem like he is asleep. Once we have made the big decision to cross over to something new and different, be confident that he is with us.
Where in our lives may we need to cross over to the other shore? Perhaps from anger and hurt to the shore of forgiveness. From hesitancy and indecisiveness to the shore of action. From attitudes of bias and prejudice to the shore of acceptance. From greed to the shore of generosity. From addiction to the shore of freedom. Whatever it is, there may be another shore that is better than the one we are on.
Crossing over does not mean that there will not be any storms. It means that in the midst of whatever we encounter, Jesus will be with us. Crossing over with this trust means that when we get to the other shore we will be better and so will others because we dared to leave the shore of the familiar.
At this very moment Jesus may be saying, “Let’s cross over to the other shore”. It could be a crossing that will change our lives.
Together in faith,
Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector