Mark 4:37

A violent squall came on, and the waves kept dashing into the boat, so that the boat was actually filling.


a day’s pent-up energy
returns in unexpected fury
provisional answers nip at ankle
our bright guide star is clouded

observed from afar we thrash
awash in waters old and new
threatening our over-stressed mast
entreating our siren-yearning ears

this is not a straight-line voyage
from frying pan to fire
but a whirlpool maelstrom
unambiguously deadly deep

each perfect storm activates fear
scares the bejesus out of us
leaving us cobra entranced
resigned to an unavoidable bite

the end of our rope has been reached
no more decisions are needed
as the waters rise we know
our boat is no ark but garbage scow


Exaggeration, thy name is familiar. Waves look different depending on whether one is on shore or asea. Even if on the water there is a difference between being on an ocean-going freighter or coracle. Each serves in their appropriate setting but both would be up a creek without a paddle if they swapped places

For the moment we suspend our disbelief. We know what it is to feel fear beyond the danger of the moment. Fear is exponential, not additive.

This is the wild side of wilderness writ large. This goes beyond a test we get a D- on. We have reached the failsafe point and have failed. If the wind weren’t so strong, everyone could smell our fear. Our only urgency at this point is to withdraw from the game, forfeit-or-die. In the face of a bullying storm, we cry, “Uncle!” or use our safe-word, if only we could remember it.

These are dangerous times we live in. Those who would control through punishment are in charge. This wind is a parable for Empire about to blow everything apart, including itself. We need a mustard plant to shelter us. We are beginning to see what was at stake with the teachings.

But we are not there yet. The culture’s shadow side has been accepted as our own and we are convulsed needing it to be exorcised from our own lives. Our authority is strong enough for others, but not for ourselves. This test is too much.

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