Articles

Tidepools

In Jesus, The Church, The Journey on September 12, 2012 by scottsund Tagged: , ,

“This isn’t the real life, this isn’t the real current.
No the tide went out and left us here, encircled, oxygen slowly running out,
hoping to God this isn’t the end.”

Last weekend was our final weekend at the island place where we run a fishing lodge every summer. We closed down the fishing operations on Friday and on Saturday morning, the entire property began to be transformed into a wedding venue.  In 29 years of working at the fishing lodge, we had never hosted a wedding until this weekend.  Former employees met at the lodge, fell in love while working here, and spent seven summers working alongside each other.  When they set their wedding date they asked if they could be married right out front with the ocean in view- and they asked me to marry them.  It was a magical weekend, a time to blend some of my different roles I play in the summer:  fisherman, father, pastor, friend.  It was an honor to perform a Christian wedding ceremony on an island that has almost 800 residents, and only a few dozen go to church.  In many ways this island is a non-religious environment, so it was a privilege to perform a wedding ceremony and preach about how Christ’s spirit empowers our relationships and takes 2 individual lives and transforms them into a 3-stranded cord.

On Saturday night the wedding party and 150 of their closest friends met for a salmon bar-b-que on the rugged north shore of Malcolm Island at Bere Point.  There was a huge beach fire and a bunch of outdoor games set out and beer and wine and 6 different bar-b-ques, cooking nearly 20 salmon, each almost 20 pounds and flavored in a variety of flavors.  The sun hung in the late afternoon sky over the still snow capped Coastal Mountain range, the air was warm with early September temps, and the tide was falling.  On the beach a huge tide pool had collected midway down the sloping shore and the kids and I headed down to check it out.

We waded into the pool and as we slowed down and looked, the vitality of the tide pool became evident.  “Papa!” my oldest screamed, “A sea anemone!”  And she was right, down close to the rocks was an anemone, a bunch of them.  Then there were starfish, hermit crabs, eels, and clams.  And if we were really still, small fish started to dart around the water.  The tide pool was teeming with life.  All housed in a natural fish tank no larger than 20’ across.  It looked so healthy.  As the kids continued to discover and play, I stood back and looked out at the ocean behind me and the recessing tide, just 20 feet away.  The water of Queen Charlotte Strait is huge, in places going down over 1000 feet.  I looked miles and miles across the Strait, from the island we were on, over to mainland British Columbia, to Wells Passage and Fife Sound.  I could see the huge Numas Islands, wild and undiscovered, which lie in the middle of QC Strait.  The water is powerful here, very powerful.  These are big waters, where Orcas travel back and forth and 4 other species of whales inhabit.  It is also the thoroughfare for millions and millions of salmon which travel down each summer, from their winter homes in the North Pacific to their eventual resting place in their river of origin somewhere south of us.  The currents in these waters can literally reshape land, as certain gravel points like Lizard Point get shaped each winter by the power of surging tides and powerful winds.  Some days we get almost 20 feet of changing tides, all of which makes the Inside Passage water flow at a ridiculously powerful rate.  This water has real power.  These are the same waters housed in this small tide pool at my feet, and though there is life in small measure in this tide pool, it simply cannot compare with the real water of the ocean.

There is such a difference between the water of this small tide pool and the mighty waters behind me.  I was thinking about this and reflecting why on an island of 800, just a few dozen people go to church.  At times I wonder if some of us in the Christian church have become pacified living in a tide pool of sorts.  We draw up big walls around us and tell most of the world they don’t fit into our brand or style of faith and then we make a home amidst the small pool.  We see a few fish or sea creatures and tell ourselves that life is healthy, that there are small victories to celebrate, and that the world just doesn’t understand how good we have it here in our tide pool.  All the while, the real power of the ocean’s currents has left us, receding further down the beach.  And the oxygen level in our water is literally expiring until the current comes back.

In the gospel accounts of Jesus, He often railed against institutions, in exchange for personal interactions with people.  And it was always His presence that brought real life.  Jesus wasn’t concerned with starting movements or revolutions, we wanted simply to indwell His followers.  “Come to ME,” Jesus said again and again, and I will give you rest…And I will give you living water…And I will give you life.”  The real current exists in and through a friendship with Jesus.  This is the real current we need to tap into day after day after day.  Jesus spent His 3 years of public ministry healing others, loving those on the margins, and espousing a different life than public and shallow religious services of His day.  “Follow me!  Come to me!  Seek me and find Me!”  These were His most important commands.

And in Jesus’ final days alive in Jerusalem, He didn’t climb on top of the Wailing Wall or the Temple to make speeches to the masses, He wanted to make sure His 12 best friends understood His message perfectly.  So He washed their feet so they would remember to serve others.  He served them bread and wine so they would remember that He would always sustain them.  And then He died for them, so they would always know they were forgiven.  This was Jesus final message in all 4 gospel accounts before He died: serve others, remember Me, for you are forgiven.

A poem fragment from the beach:

“This isn’t the real life, this isn’t the real current.
No the tide went out and left us here,
encircled,
oxygen slowly running out,
hoping to God this isn’t the end.”

This is a tide pool- and time will run out.
Time will run out.

When will the current come back Lord?
When will you return?

It feels so normal here and yet not at all….

So and we wait…
So we wait.”

May you feel the real current of Jesus encircling you.  May you have the courage to seek Him.  May you find Him.  And may you never confuse the warm and oxygen deprived water of the tide pool with the transformative and energized water of a relationship alive with Christ.  He is the real current.  In Him is real life.

“Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King.”
-1 Peter 2:17

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2 Responses to “Tidepools”

  1. Scott! Fabulous! I have always loved tide pools. Now I will look at them from a slightly skewed angle. Love your blog; love your poem. Thank you!

    Debbie

    deadhorsedeb@aol.com

  2. Wow, Scott! What an insightful message. I am going to share this with my prayer group this morning. Your words are inspired. Thanks for writing and sharing with us.
    Your cousin, Marcia

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