Who is in control?

June 24
I found myself with two sets of questions this week and the sermon responds to one of them. The other relates to “the cushion” of Mark 4:38 more properly translated as “the headseat” or helmsman’s seat. It is the place where the helmsman or skipper of the boat sits so he can control it. My question is “Why did Peter (if the skipper) not say to Jesus as they set off ‘Please go and sit up the front of the boat’?” Any skipper who lets someone sit in the place of control who is not competent is asking for trouble. Even boating around Raglan Harbour, I’ve never been allowed to get in the road like that with my boatie friends! What is the dynamic going on there? Were they so in awe of Jesus they felt they couldn’t say anything? If they did then they put the whole boat at risk right from the outset – think maritime investigation here. Of course the story would have taken on a different tone had they done so, had they taken on their proper responsibilities. If Peter had the helm when the storm struck and had been standing/sitting in the place of control there wouldn’t have been a crisis and no learning who Jesus was – or is that part of the learning for us too. The story was not written to support individuals in their hour of stormy need though it can be used for that – it was written to a community in the midst of their own storm. What storms are we struggling in, and who do we need at the helm?

Spectator religion

I have seemed to miss a number of Trinity Sundays over the years but this year I was at home and have used the John reading as the main focus. I hadn’t always recognised this as a baptismal reflection in the way I’ve developed it but with a couple of adult baptisms in recent years it makes more sense. That invitation into community is one Nicodemus seemed to want to avoid – he’d rather watch from the sidelines. Not unlike the spectator mentality that has built up in our culture.