The Mediterranean Coast line, the Sunshine coast, Hawaii or maybe it’s in a country cottage in front of a warm open fire. Our imagination usually finds its way of transporting ourselves into the perfectly relaxed trouble free environment. We love idyllic surrounds because our environment has a profound effect upon our well being.
The converse is equally true. Can you imagine living in Gaza, Syria, Iraq or Ukraine at the moment? So many traumatized. Of a different nature, imagine being caught in nature’s fury: a tornado, a cyclone, a tsunami, a severe drought and famine. We can go further and think of human caused oppression. People locked into slavery, poverty, homelessness, or relationships of abuse.
These are the examples that provide the environmental contexts people often live within.
Last week I suggested that Jesus miracles were mostly to do with individual care, but some ventured into other domains of life and spoke of things like, the healing of religion as in the case of his turning water into wine, or perhaps the healing of community as with the feeding of the multitude.
I want to suggest this week’s miracle of the calming of the storm and the walking on water ARE really about the healing of environment.
The following is an account of one of Jesus miracle:
The crowd has dispersed; Jesus has sought a quiet place to pray; The disciples head down to the shore and take their boat out onto the lake; As the night progress the wind springs up and they can make no progress; In the early hours of the morning Jesus comes walking on the water; To their terror his faint appearance in the dark and mist, made them think it was a ghost until close enough, they recognized it was Jesus.
At this point the strangest thing happens but it does take us to the heart of our learning:
Impulsive Peter decides, anything that Jesus does, I can also.
He plunges into the water and attempts to emulate Jesus by walking on the water.
Maybe for a few strides he does, before the reality of his situation hits home and he begins to sink.
The analysis of this miracle
What we are being presented with here, is an analysis of our relationship with ourselves and our environment. In a general sense we see the extraordinary range of experiences humans know of.
- The importance of it to the way we live.
- Our cooperation with it is essential for survival.
- The fisherman sailing on the water illustrates our love affair with it, for it becomes our way of life,
- On the furthest extreme we are reminded how vulnerable we can become.
Its volatility will threaten our very existence.
The storm at sea, the tsunami, the earthquake, mudslide, volcano, the drought the flood, all fill us with terror, belittling us to feeling worthless and helpless
Our interior wellbeing swings through 180 from life to death.
So where is the healing in this story? As Peter found, it is within.
It is in his mind that the solution rests. Our attitude swings between faith and doubt.
When we doubt, we become the environments play thing and so easily its victim.
When we believe, our faith elevates us to ride on its wonder and beauty.
We do wonderful things. It is our friend and our lover.
Like the ocean, the storms are on the surface, the deeper the water the calmer the water.
Examples include the gardener, the landscaper, the artist, the bushwalker, the surfer.
The aircraft, the ocean liner…
They all remind us of the wonderful things we do with our environment.
What Jesus has presented in this miracle is that there is an even greater love relationship.
We have the ability to always move beyond the common, the normal or the expected by discovering our interior depth. With the right attitude, it is as if the mind can rise to great heights.
Don’t limit ones expectation, not even with the common understanding of nature.
Science has shown us that there is always so much more to learn.
So can the eyes of the spirit and the aspiration of the heart.
The more harmoniously we learn to live with the interior environment of the heart, the spirit, the divine, the more we are the stewards of creation. And the less we are its victim.
The still small voice within cannot be intimidated by the surrounding terrors.
Jesus is the Lord of nature.