Last night in class we were discussing Mark 4:35-41. It's a text that describes Jesus sleeping in a boat while a furious storm threatens the lives of the disciples in the boat. These guys, experienced mariners, are terrified by the storm and apparently annoyed that Jesus is sleeping through it. They wake him up by shouting in his face a question, "Don't you care that we are dying here?!?"
The text says that Jesus got up, "rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." Someone pointed out that this rebuke was not a quiet request but more like a shout of "Shut up!" to the unruly, out of control sea. Now, this made me think of an old Cheech & Chong skit. I asked the class if they had heard of it - Sister Mary Elephant. Much to my dismay only one person out of the 15-20 people acknowledge knowing about it. (Since Cheech & Chong are of questionable character, maybe no one wanted to admit it, ha ha.)
The Sister Mary Elephant skit involves a Catholic nun substitute teacher who repeatedly yells, "SHUT UP!" to the unruly class. You can read about it here. I know the juxtaposition of Jesus and Cheech & Chong is probably not a good one, but, hey, that was what came to mind!
Our class was really good last night. I hope to be able to capture the spirit and the comments of the class and incorporate them into my sermon today. I'm not sure how the Spirit of God works in all this but I am convinced he does. Since I went public in my request for input regarding fear and received a lot of input from a very diverse group, I am thinking of publishing the sermon on Facebook as a "note," hoping it will serve as an opportunity to share some Good News with some folks who otherwise won't hear it. Knowing this affects my sermon prep in a good way. I have to be more aware of the message and how it comes across to those who are not used to a church context.
OK, need to get busy on all this. Gonna be a busy weekend - got a funeral on Saturday.