I grew up in the Midwest, and didn’t see the ocean until I was in my teens, after we moved to the East Coast. I quickly developed a fascination with beaches and went to different ones whenever I could. I lived in Maryland and often visited the Eastern shore and its unspoiled shores. A move to California allowed me to explore the spectacular coastline north of San Francisco. I loved the rhythm of the waves, the way the light played in the surf, and the different treasures I could find on the beach. I have a sizable collection of rocks, driftwood, and what you might call beach junk.
When you are at the ocean, things change moment to moment. One moment a line of seashells may appear, the next moment they may disappear in the surf. Sometimes dark seaweed will fill the water, only to be washed away a few minutes later. The ocean is ever changing, in big and small ways. I long for the ocean on some days, as now I live in a state known for mountains. I love the mountains and the scenery they offer, but I miss the ocean.
The world we are living in changes moment to moment, in big and small ways. It is changing right before our eyes. Things are floating up on the shore that we haven’t anticipated or didn’t expect. The beach scenery is full of riptides that we don’t see just below the surface. We are paying closer attention to those things below the surface. We have to, if we live in Christian community, we are called to a deeper understanding of what is going on.
The work of the church continues – caring for the most vulnerable among us, building community when we are not in our buildings, proclaiming the good news even when there doesn’t seem to be much good news. We can go back to the beach where we can discover what is in the deeper waters. There is a lot of life in the deeper waters. We can be co-creators with God of this new life as we continue to pay attention. Our time at the beach is stirring up something. Spending time with our Lord and with our faith communities will help us see and understand what is being stirred up.
“Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, children you have no fish have you? They answered him no. He said to them cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciples who Jesus loved said to Peter, it is the Lord.” John 21: 4-6
Risen Lord, help us to pay attention to what is being stirred up in our world today. Lead us into new ways of serving the poor, the oppressed, the sick, and the lonely. Walk with us as we bring your presence to those who need it most. AMEN.