To the Other Side – 6-17-24

You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday’s gospel reading is here

This week we get a wonderful and dramatic story from the Gospels – the tale of Jesus quieting a storm. It’s not a long story, so we can really sink our teeth into it and chew a bit. The set-up is simple – in the evening, after a busy day of ministry, Jesus says to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other  side.”

The other side of what, we might ask? The other side of the lake, the Sea of Galilee. That’s the surface answer. But words like “the other side” and “crossing,” invite us to think of liminal spaces, thresholds, boundaries, transitions from one mode of being or understanding into another. Crossing water evokes classic dream interpretation, in which water often stands for the unconscious, depths, mysteries that must be navigated in order for healing and growth to occur. None of that may have been in Mark’s mind when those words were written, but that simple phrase can set up many echoes.

We are always facing journeys and transitions to new conditions, new relationships, new understandings of our lives and ourselves and the God who made us. We make these journeys in whatever craft are available to carry us, and there is always some risk of wind and weather. Even more, there is a risk of death, and that we will be changed. Change is an inevitable consequence of growth. We are altered, expanded, exposed to new perspectives and ways of seeing. We let some things die or find they are taken from us, and in that emptiness and grief we might find space for new life. We are ever invited across the sea, the deep, the threshold to a new place.

The alternative is staying where we are. Sometimes we exercise that option for a long time, staying stuck in jobs, relationships, habits, addictions, ways of being or thinking, long after they have ceased to be life-giving.

What expanses do you need to cross in your life at this time, or have crossed recently?
Are there areas of life in which you feel stuck?
Are you being invited into a boat, and ready to put out to sea, even if there might be a storm brewing?
Are you being asked to cross over to see an opposing view on a matter that you care deeply about?

We do not go alone – we go with Jesus, who came in the boat “just as he was.” Just as He Is, he is with us.

I’m reminded of a quote which Edwin Friedman cites in his great book, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix:  “The safest place for ships is in the harbor. But that’s not why ships were built.”

© Kate Heichler, 2024. To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereHere are the bible readings for next Sunday. Water Daily is also a podcast – subscribe to it here on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform.

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