Mark 6:51

Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind dropped. The disciples were utterly amazed,


shift again
from passing by all else
to living in another’s space

such shifting
is proclaimer work
it’s face-to-face stupid

shifting lessons
keep us off-guard
mystified by our bafflement

shift teaching
introduces us to ourself
and tomorrow’s self

shift intentionally
choosing curiosity over
disappointed expectation


An important question is, “What happened that Jesus intended to pass by but ended up entering the boat?”

LaVerdiere183, seems certain about Mark’s intent:

Mark,… is telling two stories at once, that of Jesus with his disciples and that of the Lord with apostolic Church. His Gospel makes little or no effort to distinguish these two periods in our Christian origins. Rather, they interpenetrate one another…. The statement must have been especially meaningful to Mark’s early readers, many of whom may have felt that the Lord was passing them by, while in fact he was with them in the boat of the Church, but unrecognized.

This seems optimistic as we are in a post-fact, alt-fact, culture where

—Who can tell truth from falsehood any more?

I say it, and you feel it in your hearts:

no man or woman on this big small earth.

—How should our sages miss the mark of life,

and our most skillful players lose the game?

your hearts will tell you, as my heart has told me:

because all know, and no one understands.

(E.E. Cummings, “Santa Claus: A Morality”)

This may be why Matthew adds the story of inviting Peter into the storm. His first attention to walking with Jesus becomes drawn by the waves and he sinks. Peter’s being plucked from pre-creation waters is likely an encouraging connection with a scared reader.

Here, however, Jesus has sent the Twelve in one direction while he retreated in prayer. There is a storm, a ghostly Jesus, and a calming of the storm (as before). We are about to reenter a teaching mode with no further dramatics to catch our attention and distract us.

One way we can tell teaching, not action, is the order of the day is the bafflement of the Twelve—their response to teaching.

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