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Faith in Us…


It’s been a long day of teaching and working the crowds. He tells the disciples to load up the boat and to get ready for a trip across the Galilean lake. And they all go aboard…taking Jesus along “just as he was.” Nothing extraordinary in this: the experienced fishermen-disciples man their stations at oar and sail; the exhausted rabbi rests his head on the pillow in the stern. He trusts his companions to do what they know how to do…to steer their way safely across the waters to the country of the Gerasenes.

So why is it, in the midst of a storm, that these experienced boaters cry out to Jesus? Have they never worked through the suddenness and violence of a wind-swept Galilee? Does their new-found relationship to Jesus expunge from them every bit of knowledge they brought along from their previous careers? I struggle to find an adequate explanation for their behavior…including their willingness to indict their Teacher on the grounds that he does not care for them simply because he has taken a much needed nap.

We often think about faith from only a human perspective…asking questions of ourselves and others about whether or not we have faith in Jesus or faith in God or faith in God’s plan for our lives. Sometimes we might even be so thoughtful as to wonder about whether or not we have the faith of Jesus…that daring, radical trust in God’s favor and power.

But I wonder if this Gospel reading isn’t also (perhaps mostly) about glimpsing God’s faith in us. These disciples, to whom Jesus has explained everything, are entrusted with their own roles to play in Christ’s announcement and enactment of the coming Kingdom of God. Jesus himself apparently trusts them enough to let them do what they already know how to do…safely drive the boat…so that he can do what he needs to do. Unfortunately, they seem unwilling or unable.

Dear sisters and brothers: God has not made us without gifts and abilities. We, however, sometimes hesitate to take up those gifts and abilities for the sake of the kingdom work entrusted to us. Maybe we just don’t want the responsibility. Maybe we are afraid of doing the wrong thing. Maybe we just don’t care. Whatever the reason: refusing to do what we already know how to do for the Kingdom’s sake is more than just a betrayal of ourselves. It is, at the very least, an ungracious response to God’s faith in us.

Lord, have mercy.


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