Friends, the story at the heart of our Gospel for today is the storm at sea. Karl Barth said that the stormy waters in all of these cases stands for das Nichtige, “the nothing,” that which stands opposed to God’s creative intentions, difficulties both interior and exterior, difficulties physical, psychological, and spiritual.
The disciples in the boat are, as I’ve often said, evocative of the Church, making its way through time and space. And those waters are symbolic of everything that besets the members of the Church. To stay within the emotional space of the story, this must have been a terrible storm, to have terrified experienced sailors. This is no small problem, no minor difficulty.
Do you know the de profundis prayer? It comes from Psalm 130: “Out of the depths, I call to you, Lord. Lord, hear my cry!” It is the prayer we should offer at the darkest times of life, when we find ourselves lost and in the shadow of death, when, in our desperation, we feel utterly incapable of helping ourselves.