In 1990 thieves stole a work of a young Rembrandt titled, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The work has never been recovered. The image depicts the story from Mark’s gospel where Jesus calms a storm which threatened to swamp the boat he and his disciples were in.
The most interesting detail of the image is that there are 14 people in the boat, when one might expect only 13, Jesus and the 12 apostles. The 14th person turns out to be Rembrandt, who painted himself into the scene, an early example of a selfie!
When an artist puts himself or herself into a biblical scene, they are appropriating that scene for their own life, making a personal connection with it. That’s what we are called to do–make a personal connection with the scriptures.
In this case we’re invited to put ourself in that scene of fear and worry, consider the storms of our own life, and trust Jesus to bring calm and safety and blessing to us, or at least praying for that to happen. This is more than reading scripture. It is praying scripture. The lesson is that when we are in the boat with Jesus, there is no need to fear. He will calm the storm.
“He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)