Scripture: Mark 6:47-56
Key Verse: (45) “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side . . . . .”
Reflection: In Mark’s gospel, “the other side” means gentile territory. It refers to the place where people are not like us, where people do not share our values, where people who according to our understanding of God’s intentions for moral living do not measure up. “The other side” is where “unclean” people live.
Have you ever had to travel to “the other side”? That other side may have been a foreign land where Christianity is not honored. That other side may have been a different neighbor right here in Charlotte, an ethnic neighborhood, a neighborhood that is a mecca for LGBT persons. It may have been a group of conservative members of this congregation, or a group of liberal members. If we are a part of the company of Jesus, we will be made to cross over to “the other side.” For to the persons on the other side is where Jesus wants us to go.
The passage to “the other side” is scary. It is stormy. It is rough. In scripture the sea always represents chaos, the unsettled, frightful arena in which we are literally out of control, at the mercy of the wind and the waves.
Jesus doe not let us off the hook when he demands that we cross over to “the other side.” Nor does Jesus deliver us from the terror we experience in our hearts and minds as we embark on the crossing. But Jesus in the chaos “passes by,” comes up close and notices us. And as we cry out in fear, he climbs in the boat with us to calm the storm in our hearts.
To what “other side” is Jesus demanding that you travel in your pilgrimage right now? Are you frightened? Are you resisting the crossing? Jesus notices and will not let the chaos overwhelm you.
On that crossing Jesus’ disciples went on, they failed. Their hearts were hardened. They landed, not on “the other side” but in Gennesaret a place back in their home territory. Yet, Jesus did not give up on them. He kept trusting them to follow. And so he still does with us.
Prayer: Holy One, we are afraid to travel to “the other side.” Calm the storm within us, and even as we have failed, trust us again. Amen.
Author: Pete Peery
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].