#BigRead12, Week 2: Echoes


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  • Think back over the previous week. Did you ‘eat your chocolate’, e.g. find your labyrinth?
  • What do you think of when someone says the word ‘echo’? Do you have memories of echoes?
  • You may enjoy: http://youtu.be/ebFBYUyDItA


You can’t beat the old stories. Jesus echoes the Old Testament in the stories he tells.


Bible Reading (Tom Wright Translation)

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day, when it was evening, Jesus said to them, ‘Let’s go over to the other side.’

36 They left the crowd, and took him with them in the boat he’d been in. There were other boats with him too.

37 A big windstorm blew up. The waves beat on the boat, and it quickly began to fill. 38Jesus, however, was asleep on a cushion in the stern. They woke him up.

‘Teacher!’ they said to him, ‘We’re going down! Don’t you care?’

39 He got up, scolded the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Shut up!’

The wind died, and there was a flat calm. 40Then he said to them, ‘Why are you scared? Don’t you believe yet?’

41 Great fear stole over them. ‘Who is this?’ they said to each other. ‘Even the wind and the sea do what he says!’

Other translations: Mark 4: 35-41 (Psalm 65:7, 89:9, 107:29).

Reflection: Brian Draper (Echosounder) ‘Our Calm within the Storm’

I don’t know what’s more impressive: Jesus calming the storm, or him simply being able to sleep through it, on the deck of a small boat, upon Lake Galilee. I’ve never been able to doze in a car or train, let alone on a boat in a storm. But there’s Jesus, dead to the world, within the maelstrom.

Perhaps he was too exhausted to worry. Having given so much of himself to the crowds and his disciples, he could have been forgiven, after all, for being spent.

But sometimes I wonder, in this story, whether he isn’t simply showing disregard for what’s happening on the surface of things.

My own response, when life’s waters grow turbulent, is, like the disciples, to panic. Circumstances can make the best of us flap like a fish. With Jesus, however, the opposite seems to happen: his deeply anchored presence calms even the waves; an un-rippling effect from the centre out.

The story reminds me of another scene in which Jesus takes command, and which, above the water, again seems rough for his disciples. In fact, twice Jesus tells his fisher-followers to let down their nets – once at the start of his ministry, and once, after his resurrection – having fished all night, without joy. And both times, they land a record catch.

These days, fishing boats are fitted with an echosounder, which helps you to see what’s below the surface. They help you spot the hidden dangers – the rocks and reefs – but also the treasure: the shoals of fish. A signal sent below the surface bounces back as an echo, creating a picture of what’s deeper down.

We’re not very good at looking beyond the surface troubles of life. In fact, when things get stormy, we may even start to doubt our faith itself, and the doubter is ‘like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind,’ as James put it. Nevertheless, we follow the God who became one of us precisely to plumb the hidden depths of humanity: to reveal the rocks, like the echosounder, but also to show us the treasure.

At Lent, we follow him into the desert, where he did some echosounding for himself. He plumbed his own depths; listened for what lay beneath the surface of his own life, and emerged, after 40 days, with the clearest picture of who he was, and what he must do. Nothing at the surface level, however choppy it became, would now prevent him from being the person he’d been put on Earth to be.

Look where it got him, they said later, as he hung on the Cross.

It got him all the way to us. The presence of the man in the boat reaches to us here, as deep now calls to deep once more. His Spirit dives and drives beneath our surface, and sends its signal back up. Here is treasure, for those who believe it. Here, too, our calm within the storm.

Big Read Brian Draper by bigbible


  1. When have you felt the same as the disciples in this passage?
  2. What echoes from the Old Testament do you see in Jesus’ life?
  3. What echoes from Jesus life do you see in your own?
  4. Why did Jesus calm the storm? What impact does this have on us today?


Hot: Does God intervene in the storms of life today?

As before, questions are left fairly open so as not to force a particular agenda. Leaders could push this into topics such as ‘why does God allow suffering’, and ‘what responsibility do we have to be God’s representative on earth’?

PRE-COURSE ACTION: It would be great to get suggestions in the comments box below as to starting points for the conversation, potential Bible verses, etc.

Cold: How can we echo Jesus’ life? What is possible/impossible?

As an exercise, we’d suggest the use of post-it notes, allowing the free-flow of ideas as to ways in which we can echo Jesus’s life. Then start to split into possible/impossible (as a group or individually), looking to identify how we can demonstrably echo Jesus’ life in our everyday.

After Dinner Chocs:

  1. Find a location to go and find some echoes. If you’re feeling particularly brave, film or record them and share them online.
  2. Think of a positive story from your childhood which echoes in your life today.
  3. Pick a new action in the week which allows you to demonstrate Jesus in everyday life.

The Book

The related material in Lent for Everyone: Mark can be found on ‘Week 1: Friday’, pp. 30-32, which finishes:

Wake us up, O Lord, from our easy-going sleep. Help us always to remember that you are in control, no matter how frightening or alarming things may be.

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