Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Relentless Waves of Mercy

It’s Friday. I’m driving back to the Eugene airport after teaching Thursday night and this morning for a small group of people who love to read and write. They’re the editing team for the book I wrote, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with them, from the moment I arrived yesterday at the airport, until I said goodbye this morning.

The rain is falling as I drive south on the Oregon coast, the road dropping off to my right offering glimpses of the waves crashing against the rocks. I see a sign for “Cooks Chasm” and impetuously pull off out of curiosity. There’s a sign at the far end of this tiny parking area and I walk over to it. From there I can stare straight down into the chasm, maybe 100 feet deep. Waves are crashing into this narrow gorge with explosive force, but nothing has prepared me for what happens next. As I’m looking down into the chasm, what appears to be a geyser suddenly shoots out from the rock, shooting sea spray about 50 feet into the sky. This is accompanied by a thunderous explosion, like the sound of thunder. This is called a ‘blow hole’, and it’s the result of the pressurized water of enormous waves shooting into the chasm.

I spend the next 20 minutes watching the blow hole perform, and each shot is pure delight. Between shots, I gaze across the landscape of wave and ocean, mindful that these waves have been crashing upon this share for generations, through the rise and fall of nations, wars, reformations, counter-reformations, and the rise and falls of political systems, economic systems, and world views. There’s something about standing in the face of that which points to power, eternality, and steadfastness that invites me into the Father’s arms. It’s good to be here, by the sea, with the Lord.

I ponder the working of sea on rock, ponder the metamorphosis of stone that comes because of water’s relentless caresses. This is how our Father transforms us as well. As we allow ourselves to be touched by His caress, we become, inevitably, shaped into His likeness. It happens through our renewal. It happens progressively. It happens so slowly. But like waves against the rock, it happens. Can we rest in this? Can we find peace in this? I hope so.

Learning how to pursue our God, how to allow that caress, how to embrace our long journey of transformation, requires discipline on our part, placing ourselves in the path of transformation so Christ can be seen. This is why silence, solitude, prayer, and Bible reading, and so vital in our lives. They are the waves that caress our soul, transform our mind, and shape our hearts. Little by little, as we show up, we place ourselves on the path of transformation. These are the ancient paths that lead to life. We keep showing up. The waves of His life, love, and mercy, keep transforming us.

We are rocks: Stubborn; resistant’ rooted. I pray that in these exciting days we’ll learn to place ourselves in the waves of His life.


At 10/10/08 18:50, Anonymous karen said...

Hi. My brother, Kevin Glasky, sent me the link to your blog today because I love the ocean and the Lord. I have also met you up at Thetis Island when you taught there in 1997 -- I really enjoyed your teaching and have not forgotten you.

Your writing stirs me and helps me with your word pictures just how the Lord works to conform us to His image. I am grateful for His work in me===but he's been so busy! (LOL) But I wouldn't trade any of the challenges in the past eleven years for anything because I have learned strong and important lessons about leaning into Him who is capable to see me through to victory.

I'm moving to the Seattle area whenever I sell my home in Northern California and hope to visit your church. I hear there's also a great Italian restaurant across the street. :)
In His Grip,
Karen Cadle


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