It’s Scary Out Here

“But [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion…” – Mark 4:38

Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to wake him up.

You, Peter, have been shouting for a half an hour.
You, Andrew, have been shouting back.
James and John have been pulling on the same rope
in opposite directions. And you’re the experts.

I never thought I’d hear the Sons of Thunder
overmatched by screech of wind and wave.
Shout away, boys. I can’t hear you. You can’t hear you.
For sure the wind can’t hear you and it doesn’t care.

Thomas looks like he can’t believe what’s happening.
Philip, Bartholomew, and Judas all are seasick.
James son of Alphaeus is pretending to be a son of Zebedee,
but he knows nothing at all about boats.

Thaddeus and Matthew are praying beneath the thwarts.
I’m pulling on a rope when it’s handed to me,
and releasing it when Peter, Andrew, James, or John
snatches it away. At least two lines are streaming in the wind.

So, yes, I’m going to wake him up. I can’t believe
he’s not awake already. Peter’s stepped upon him twice,
and Philip tripped on him when making for the gunwale.
He’s soaked with spray amidst the pounding roar.

Maybe he can bring some order to this chaos.
Maybe he can heal the seasick.
Maybe he can bless us in the baptism of death.
Maybe he can just be with us as we drown.

That, at least, would be a comfort. It hasn’t been
a lengthy journey with the Teacher, and I wish
it wouldn’t end like this, but if we drown,
let’s drown together with the Master wide awake.

But man. That guy can sleep.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 4:35-41, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Proper 7 (12).

The image is The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633 – www.gardnermuseum.org : Home : Info : Pic, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6812612. The painting is still missing after being stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990.

4 thoughts on “It’s Scary Out Here

    • The parallels between a storm and, well, a pandemic are perhaps overly obvious… Mostly, though, the story seems like one where the source of salvation *isn’t* obvious. The forces are greater than the resources available. That is, perhaps, an experience more common to island-dwellers, but we’ve all had it this past year.

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