I was shown a beautiful photograph this week of a boat resting on the still waters of the sea of Galilee, but, as we hear in this week’s gospel, on that calm lake violent storms can blow up very suddenly. I’m not a great sailor and I’ve only once experienced a storm at sea: I was on a cross-channel ferry in August 1974, the day that Ted Heath’s yacht, Morning Cloud, sank in the Channel. That was frightening enough for me, but being in a small boat in a raging storm must be a terrifying experience.
There are two extraordinary things about the gospel story. The first is that Jesus was able to calm the storm with a word, but the second is the way he spoke to his disciples afterwards. Being afraid when your boat is about to be swamped seems perfectly reasonable to us, but Jesus seems baffled by their fear and their lack of faith.
Whatever storms are threatening us, this gospel encourages us to put our trust in the one who has the power to tell even the wind and sea what to do.