The weather has been beautiful so I have taken my canoe out on the river several times this spring. We are lucky to live where there is very little development at the river’s edge and we also have several islands that are protected bird nesting areas so wildness abounds. Paddling upriver is always a good work out, but what I really enjoy is the trip home because it’s mostly quiet floating. This is perfect for watching the river and its banks. There are, of course, so many birds. Herons are especially fun because they are so indignant at being disturbed! I found they like to sleep in groups in tall dead trees. It is quite a site, these aviary bedrooms! I occasionally see deer, but there aren’t many since the fire a few years ago, and the ones on the island are very careful to stay hidden. What I especially like to find are nutrias and sometimes, beavers swimming in the water. And of course there are the fish underneath me. In the shallow water behind the island later in the summer, large ones often seem to be close enough to touch. As I drift silently, the boat becomes incidental and I am reminded of Luke’s words that Jesus was “on the water, in the boat”*, not “in the boat on the water”. Going up river I am “in the boat on the water”, busy with getting where I am going, but going down river, I am “on the water, in the boat”.
“On the water” I become part of a different world. It calls me to listen and look, to pay profound attention, to see things as they are and not as they relate to me. We call this profound looking beyond ourselves, humility. I can do this because I am not just “on the water”, but I am also “in the boat”. The boat gives me the comfort and safety of autonomy. I don’t have to figure out how to change this environment to fit my needs. I live in a house down river. Here I am free, therefore, just to be and look and learn and appreciate this world that is not my own. I am present, waiting and watching, abiding in this place, which, before long, comes to abide in me. Who I am becomes bigger, and somehow, smaller, as all of this that is not me becomes part of me. I think this is what John is talking about in Sunday’s gospel when he says that the Spirit abides with us and in us.
This is possible because Christ is the boat. We are free to be, to risk, to love, to listen and look and pay profound attention, because we are in the world, not of the world. We are “on the water, in the boat” and the more time we spend there, open to the Spirit wrapping us in wonder like a breeze of summer, the more the Spirit abides in us and we in her. And this Spirit opens the eyes of our hearts and strengthens our souls so that humility takes root and grounds us firmly in the Kingdom. We then know clearly and absolutely who we are and whose we are and are no longer threatened by people not like us with experience and ideas not our own. We can think clearly and respond with wisdom and love, because, although we are “on the water” we are also “in the boat” that is Christ.
Of course our temptation is always to grab those paddles and direct the journey. Then, before long, there is nothing much to see because our vision has narrowed and the noise of our progress has scared everything away. All that exertion gets the blood rushing in our ears and even the voice of the Spirit goes unheard. We are only aware of ourselves.
Jesus invites us to a different reality, a reality that connect us, that calls us to abide, you with me and me with you and each of us and all of us with Jesus, the Christ, the boat that makes all this possible, who in turn abides in the Father Creator, of rivers and beavers and herons and you and me.
*From original texts of Luke 5:3 according to scholar, Father Jean LaVerdiere.
We will be worshiping at Grace this Sunday! Exciting times! Please join us at 10:30 if this feels right to you. If you feel more comfortable worshiping from home, please do that. We will continue to live stream on Facebook. We are trying new equipment and had some sound difficulties last week. We apologize for this and hopefully have the problem resolved. If you plan to attend at Grace, please read through our safety protocol before you come. We want to take all reasonable measures to keep from spreading the virus.
We are asking you to be very careful about keeping 6 feet of distance and encourage you to wear a mask.
We will have the six feet distance marked off coming into the church and we will mark the seating as well.
There will be hand sanitizer at the door as you come in and we will try and have as much air flow in the church as we can comfortably.
There will be some changes in the liturgy. We will not sing or exchange the peace by shaking hands.
We will be doing a kind of “serve yourself” communion.
We have tried to be as careful as we can about safety so please share your concerns if you have them.
Since we cannot have coffee hour yet, we will have a time to visit and catch up after services from our seats in the church.
******************************************* We are considering putting together a Zoom book club as a chance to:
discuss some amazing insight on Scripture, and
pray together, seeing where God is leading us
We’ll be reading “Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again” by Rachel Held Evans. https://rachelheldevans.com/inspiredInspired - Rachel Held Evans Amazon Apple iBooks IndieBound. If the Bible isn’t a science book, instruction manual, or position paper, then what is it? New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans invites readers on a journey of rediscovery as she explores the magic of the Bible, engaging the old, familiar stories in new ways that honor the past and enlighten the present. rachelheldevans.com This books has opened my eyes up to see the Bible in news ways that cracks open some of its amazing energy and power. And it’s just so fun to read. I’ve been wishing for people to talk with about it! The cost of the book will be completely or mostly covered. Are you interested? Please let Mia know which of the following times would work for you: (email@example.com) Sundays 4pm Sundays 1pm Wednesdays 4pm Wednesdays 7 pm ******************************************* We would also like to begin Adventure Club the first part of June. This is our hiking club for youth and those young at heart. We want to get our youth out of the house and together again. And we want to be safe. Studies seem to indicate that outdoors is the safest place to be and that children aren't as at risk for the virus as adults, but we will need to deal with the issue of transportation. If each family drives their own children, this isn't a problem, but for some this won't be an option. I am proposing that we have all in the cars wear masks and keep the windows open enough to provide good airflow. when we get to our destination and are out of the car we could do without the masks until we drive home. The warm temperatures of summer should also lessen the chances of contracting the virus. So, we need your input. What would make you comfortable as a parent or chaperone? Are there other measures we could take? Please email Karen+ your thoughts or concerns and let's see if we can make this happen. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
******************************************* Please keep Father Milt in your prayers. He seems to be in his last days. He was a good and faithful servant of Christ here at Grace and we are grateful.