The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Chaplain's Reflections

A few years ago, while attending a minister's conference in Jerusalem, I had the opportunity to visit some of the places mentioned in the gospels. Like many other visitors on the 'Holy Land Highlights Tour' I found some places gawdy and disappointing, like the neon Wedding Church at Cana and the crowded, crumbling Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Yet other places were genuinely fascinating.   

One of the holy sites I found surprisingly untouched and deeply moving was the Sea of Galilee. The sea is surrounded by high mountains that have prevented large scale development and visitors are able to walk along the water's edge and climb the surrounding hills to get an uninterrupted view of the place where Jesus calmed the storm.   

As I drifted along in a sturdy wooded sailboat through the still waters, I could hear the sounds that Jesus heard – the canvas sail flapping in the breeze and the occasional call of a passing sea bird. It was hard to believe that a storm could be whipped up from nowhere, but the boatmen assured me that it was true. The tightly packed mountains cause fierce storms to appear without warning, and every boatman has a tempest story of battling to keep afloat and fearing he wouldn't make it to the shore.  

For me, the sea of Galilee has become a metaphor for life. You can be sailing along, enjoying a gentle breeze and the sea air one minute and suddenly the wind changes, the rain pours and before you know it, you're clinging onto the wooden boat edge for dear life. When the storm hits and overturns all the certainties in life, it's a comfort to know that Christ is in the boat with you.   

Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm  

Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm  

Let all the tumult within me cease  

Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.  

David Adam