I was helping out at an RCIA retreat recently, when a young priest—let’s call him Father Young—took those present through a lectio divina experience, applying the five senses to Mark 4: 35-41, where Jesus calms a storm at sea.
Father asked us to feel the storm looming and visualize it rolling in and tossing the boat like Batman slapping around The Joker’s henchmen (my analogy, not Father’s). He asked us to feel the hard wooden floor of the boat as we knelt in supplication asking that the storm would subside. What was the mood on the boat? What was it like to see Jesus asleep on a cushion, gently snoring, while the storm raged all around us.
This was definitley not the prayer experience for me. I got too caught up in the details.
First of all, I assume Father meant “snoring” figuratively. I refuse to believe that Jesus ever snored, gently or otherwise. The Jesus Seminar might say he did, but if they do, they’re wrong. Second, it was pretty obvious that Father Young has never been at sea during a storm. How are you supposed to hear gentle snoring during a storm?
Apostle 1: Do you hear that?
Apostle 2: Hear what? The raging storm? Yeah, I pretty much hear that.
Apostle 1: No. Not the storm. That gentle snoring.
Apostle 2: Hey, you’re right. That IS gentle.
Now, if he had said it were St. Peter snoring, he may have had a case.
Apostle 1: Man, that wind is howling!
Apostle 2: Is it? Who can here the wind over Simon Bar Buzzsaw?
Apostle 1: What’s a buzzsaw?
Anyway, after trying to get us all to accuse Jesus of snoring like St. Peter, Father Young made us wake Jesus up, instead of letting the guys in the actual Gospel account do it. He would have done it himself, I suppose, but he was busy narrating. We were then invited to analyze how we felt as we asked Jesus, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Somehow, I don’t think that was the Apostles’s choice of words. It was probably more like the Aramaic version of, “Hello! Lord? Dying here!”
Next, Father Young came to the part where Jesus basically tells the storm, “Shhhh!” We were then invited to say how we were feeling.
I said, “Stupid,” since I felt that Jesus was looking at me funny.
Then, we each got a chance to say something to Jesus after He had calmed the storm, looked at us funny and asked, “Do you not yet have faith?”
There were many appropriately chagrined statements. Personally, I think I said the only thing that really made sense, “Can I get you a dry cushion, so you can lay back down?”
I mean, what else would there be to say after you woke the Son of God out a peaceful nap (one of the joys of His human nature) and basically asked Him to turn off a fan?
And no, I haven’t a clue as to where I might have gotten that dry cushion.