For this week's exegesis, please visit my page here from three years ago. I've updated it slightly.
Also, you can find my essay entitled "The Politics of Chaos" here.
Here are some random thoughts, on which I'd love your input if you are so inclined.
1. What I hope not to do in my sermons is to depict the disciples as whining in the maelstrom while Jesus is just placidly trusting God. People really do die in storms at sea.
2. It is tempting to pair the story of Jesus calming the sea to the story of Jonah to compare and contrast. Both Jesus and Jonah are asleep during a raging storm at sea. I wonder if the fact that Jesus is asleep says less about his disposition or fatigue in the story and is more of a device to make this an echo of the Jonah story. However, in Jonah's case his transgression against the will of God is the cause of the storm. In Jesus' case, the storm comes up without evident cause and the issue is whether Jesus cares or not. The RCLectionary, however, pairs this story with the encounter between David and Goliath - a different kind of story involving fear and panic.
3. The image of the disciples wakening Jesus in my head for many years was similar to when Dorothy wakes up from her concussion and everyone from her Kansas farm were gathered around her bed looking down at her. If these are modest fishing boats - not big Yankee Clippers made to sail across the ocean - I would guess that I have to have a more disturbing image than that. Jesus is not far away, but right there where they can yell their inquiry while the disciples are throwing over extra cargo or battening the loose stuff, etc. to survive. It is not really the time for processing Jesus' feelings. It's time for panicked cries for help.
4. The disciples' question intrigues me: "Do you not care that we perish?" I can hear it two ways:
A. "What? You can't sleep through this storm while we try to keep the boat from capsizing! If this boat goes down, we're all going down. Do you not care about that?" In that sense, the disciples' tone reflect their care for Jesus as well as for their own survival.
B. "Oh, it's fine for you! You can do things that we can't; you have some special ring of protection that lets you sleep in a time like this. But, what about us? Don't you care about the rest of us?" In this case, the disciples are still asking a reasonable question, even if it does sound a tinge whiny.
The difference would be whether the "we" is "You and us alike" or "Us, not you."
5. I've often been intrigued by the complex image of a parent, whose child just almost ran out in front of a car or almost fell down a flight of stairs, etc. A loving parent might scream some of the most ugly words at a child in a moment like that. I remember my mother yanking my arm and smacking my bottom with each word: What. Is. Wrong. With. You? when I did something like that. I generally feel that, under calmer circumstances, a mother ought to refrain from yanking, smacking and questioning a child's sanity. But, in that moment, those ugly words and all the physicality were actually how my mother was expressing love in a frightened, panicked way.
In the same way, I think it disingenuous for a pastor, on a calm Sunday morning when everyone is quietly listening, to treat the disciples' words as the silly expressions of those who don't really trust in Jesus' love. I think perhaps we ought to imagine ourselves and our entire congregation in an airplane that has lost its engines when we preach this text. Then we can explore panic and pious together.