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Pentecost 4B Sermon
Mark 4: 35-41

June 20, 2021

Sermon Archives


Mark 4:35-41

35On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to the disciples,“Let us go across to the other side.”36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Please pray with me:
Loving God, open our ears to hear your wordand draw us closer to you, that the whole world may be one with youas you are one with us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The scripture reading from Job 38 is the beginning of God’s response to Job’s situation. Four of his friends tell him that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people so Job must have done something to upset God. Job must have committed an awfully bad sin if God let Job suffer losing his wife, children and livelihood. But Job knew he didn’t sin against God and told his friends so by defending God’s faithfulness in Job’s religious life. If you haven’t read about what happens to Job, he gets married again and has many more children and dies only after seeing four generations of his descendants.

In my studies, I often go to a Jewish website for information about the Old Testament or Hebrew scriptures. There is a Jewish ritual called Tashlich that involves tossing bread into a flowing body of waterbetween Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (scapegoat).

This ritual of Tashlich instructs the person who wants atonement or forgiveness from their sins to throw bread into a river which symbolizes their sins washing away. Yom Kippur is similar as the sins of the people are placed on a goat by the priest and the goat is released into the wilderness, taking with it the sins of the community.

This article written by Rachel Scheinerman went on to supply some Dad Jokes in honor of Father’s Day. If white bread is thrown into the river for ordinary sins:

What does a turkey throw in the river for its sins? Stuffing

What does Santa throw into the river for his sins? Christmas fruitcake (julekaken)

Why did the bear just stick his foot in the water? It was his offering of a “bear claw”. (Groan….) and finally,

What does dad throw into the river for his sins? Cornbread

Well, enough of the dad jokes…Let’s get back in the boat with the disciples…
But before we do, I am getting my life jacket… (put on life jacket).

If I were one of the disciples, I would have my life jacket on during that storm at sea. I would hope that there was a lifeboat drill to prepare us for evacuation and instructions for any emergency we might face on the cruise to the other shore.
But disciples had no life jackets because they are not invented until the 1800’s. In 1851, Captain John Ross Ward, a British arctic explorer, developed the first life jacket out of cork for the National Lifeboat Institution.

Have you been afraid and wondered whether God was asleep or not paying attention to you during a family crisis, throughout an illness, or in the past year while trying to avoid the COVID 19virus?
Have you cried out to God or called for Jesus to come to your aide, to give you comfort or to grant you peace?

I know I have done just that during chaotic times in my life.

Sometimes we may even bargain with God. I remember saying to God, “If You help me now, I will do anything you would want me to do in the future.” I have wondered if that is why God called me into ministry and has guided me toward hospital chaplaincy.

Yet, I am not the only person from Clinton Heights Lutheran Church to be steered into ministry. Some of you may not know but I was a member here for about 20 years but left Columbus in 2005. I originally joined after Vern& Ruth Cahill invited my sister and I to attend because my father had been one of Dr. Cahill’s students at Ohio State University. (See, personal invitations still are the best way to grow a church!) And after I started seminary, I happened to run into Lucas Merit and Robbie Ketcham attending also. As CHLC celebrates 100 years, think about the people from CHLC who are now in ministry. These are people who you have raised up to serve God and God’s people in the world.

Legacy List:Robbie Ketcham, Lucas Merit,John Mawhirter, Linda Zaye, Dave Shugert, Nick Bates, Cindy Hershberger

And many other seminarians who used CHLC as a ministry “lab of learning,”one that I knew personally was James Brady & most recently Rita Argus.

It is thought that each one of these people in ministry would reach, on average, 110,000 people over their professional careers. For these nine people alone, that would mean almost a million people would hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A million people would know who God is and know how Jesus’ death on the cross washes their sins away. A million people hearing the words of forgiveness. A million people being saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the legacy of CHLC.

The story of Jesus falling asleep in the boat while going across to the other side of the Sea of Galilee is short but it must be particularly important for it is included in gospels of Matthew, Mark AND Luke. Each gospel writer has small variations in the story they tell. Jesus says, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith? in Mark’s gospel. In Matthew, Jesus says, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” And in Luke, Jesus simply says, “Where is your faith?”

So, what is the purpose of this story? Are we to focus on the disciples and faith? Is this a story that helps us understand that God and Jesus will come to our help when we call or pray? Maybe. However, many scholars think this story has a bigger meaning than these things. In fact, it is cosmic.

This is a story about the supreme power of God the creator and the glorious power bestowed on Jesus as the Son of God. It is a story that tells us something about the identity of Jesus. It answers the disciples’ question, “who is this that commands wind and waves and they obey?”
CHLC, continue preaching the gospel, continue telling the stories of Jesus life, death and resurrection. Continue baptizing the young and old with water and the Word. Continue to help people to put on Christ like you put on a life jacket… in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN!

Rachel Scheinerman is an editor at My Jewish Learning. She holds an MA in Scripture & Interpretation from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in Rabbinic Literature from Yale University.