Hey all! Today we have a super awesome treat! My most excellent friend (and chosen sister) April is our guest blogger. April is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She and I were seminary classmates and roommates for a year. April has a passion for social justice, a heart for serving God and all people, and for her most adorable son Julian (he really is just about the cutest little boy but I may be partial since he calls me Tia). April and her husband Vince and of course Julian (and a second baby on the way) live in Chicago but she calls New Orleans home. She is someone I truly admire. April is connected to God that I learn from constantly….well, enough of my rambling. Enjoy!
47When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48When 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. 49But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 51Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56And 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. (Mark 6:47-56)
I’m grateful that Courtney gave me the opportunity to guest blog today. I’m a sucker for the Gospel of Mark. It’s really one of my favorite representations of Jesus that we have in the bible. The story goes something like this.
The disciples were out on the boat, freaking out as they are known to do, and Jesus is watching them. He intends to walk past them…walk right past them on the water. (I love this about Jesus, btw. He’s just going to handle the drama without letting them in on his plan.) But they see him…as if he were a ghost… and they freak out more. Jesus knows they aren’t going to get it, but he joins them in the boat, calms their spirits, and gets back to land where he can continue his healing ministry.
The people on shore understand who Jesus is or at least what he is about. He creates a space for people where healing and wholeness can occur. He did it with the loaves and fishes, and he does it with the healing of the sick.
When I read today’s passage and thought of Jesus’ water-walking, I immediately began to think of music that relates to water. I am a musician, and I almost always read scripture through a musical lens. I went to Facebook and asked folks what their favorite water songs were. Some of the answers were not surprising: Bridge over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel), Take Me to the River (Talking Heads), and The Water is Wide (A traditional folk song). Some were humorous: Blame it on the Rain (Milli Vanilli), Tiny Bubbles (Don Ho), and Islands in the Stream (Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers).
The first song that came to mind for me was Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Walk on the Ocean.
A line in the first verse reminded me of Mark’s passage: “Somebody told me that this is the place where everything’s better and everything’s safe.” Jesus created safe spaces for people, and I believe that as the body of Christ in the world, we are called to maintain that ministry. We can walk on the ocean, calm the rough places, and bring about healing and justice in the world.
Now, I’m a long way from McMinnville, Oregon, but what I know about the ministry of your cooperative leads me to believe that you are already doing this! So I would simply ask, “How can you walk on the ocean for someone today? And how can you allow someone to help you calm the ocean of fear you may be carrying with you?”
Lastly, I will leave you with this sweet little water song I heard on Pandora today. It’s by a duo called Ma Muse. It makes me happy and makes me want to lay my troubles at the river of peace provided by our God. A blessed Lent to you all!