I'm currently helping out with a Christianity Explored course at our church. It goes through Mark's Gospel and this week, amongst other things, we looked at Mark 4:35-41 - Jesus calming the storm. I couldn't help but giggle when I read the question suggested in the CE booklet:
"What is so remarkable about the way in which Jesus calms the storm?"
I'm sorry, but that tickled me. It is as if there are perfectly "normal" ways of calming storms that wouldn't have been particularly remarkable at all. Maybe Jesus was just showing off by merely talking to the wind and waves? Such a flashy way of stopping a storm when we all know of much easier means... After all, it isn't that Jesus calmed the storm that matters is it, surely it is how he did it?!
Facetious comments to one side for a moment, though. I love the way that Mark simply says that the wind died down and everything was calm - just like that. As our vicar pointed out, if you slosh water around violently, it doesn't normally just suddenly become still again - it takes a long time to settle. Jesus' commands to be "quiet" and "still" are obeyed instantly. The storm becomes calm without that messy in-between phase of the waves gradually losing momentum. A powerful picture indeed. Metaphorically, I'm sure that many of us can relate to Jesus bringing sudden calm to stormy moments of our lives. I also wonder whether his words "Quiet, be still!" are also meant for his disciples. I know he directs them at the elements, but in doing so the disciples become quiet and still instead of panicking. Jesus knows how our faith and trust can ebb and flow with the circumstances around us and that stilling the chaos can help to still our anxious spirits too.
Perhaps the way in which God brings calm to our lives might be amazing. But in my book, the fact that he does it at all is what matters. Quietening my soul down on some days is nothing short of a miracle...