Monday, February 9, 2009

Keeping Your Eyes on the Mark

Saturday, a tragedy occurred on Lake Erie. A crack developed in the ice and a huge sheet of it broke away, leaving people stranded, far from shore. Some managed to find their way safely back to shore. Others had to be plucked off to safety, one by one. One man died.
Once, when a teenager, I was riding snowmobiles several hundred yards offshore in a bay which was not deep, maybe waist high. Some of us knew if we broke through, the most we risked was a thorough frigid soaking, maybe hypothermia and one nasty ride home to dry out. Sure enough, one of the machines broke through and the rider sank thrashing about, "I can't swim! I can't swim!" We shouted back, "Stand up! Stand up!"
Once upon a time I was part of a group afloat in heavy handed authoritarianism and legalism. Like my wise teen self, I saw danger signs but joined in anyway. Not far offshore, my children began sinking under the heavy weight. Shivering myself, I could no longer implore them to simply "stand up!" Bigger cracks were showing up. Boundaries and shoreline were obscured with thick man-made fog. I had to get my kids ashore. In attempting to get back to shore, given the environment, I knew we would all fall through cracks, but it did not matter. What mattered was life. Safety. Sunday's sermon made me think about all this. The pastor said, "Man makes messes. Jesus became a man so He could set us free from sin and death. He picks us up when we mess up."


Patricia said...

Man certainly does make messes and legalism is one of the messiest. Deep, deep stuff here, Trish. (no pun intended) Thank You, Jesus, for long arms that reach through the cracks.

Decadent Housewife said...

Oh Patricia, I don't want any heavy slogging here...this just seemed to come up these last two Sundays. I want to keep things light and encouraging here. Thinking back to the guy floundering in knee-deep water made me grin though. He didn't think it was funny though.

Leila said...

How about that old joke where the boy is drowning, and his pious mother calls to him from shore: "Pray, Johnny, Pray!!"
His practical dad shouts: "Swim, Johnny, Swim!!"

I actually think the image of just needing to stand up is as funny as it is true to real (spiritual) life!

Flip Flop Floozie said...

I loved what your pastor true..We were also in that same situation for 19 years..You ask why we stayed so long and I really do not have the answer until one day we just WOKE UP!! Thanks for this post...

Richard D said...

One of my favorite songs, written by a friend of mine, says something similar.

My life is shaken by the foolishness I make
My indecision and careless remedies to my mistakes
He softly whispers, "Here I am"
He gently takes my hand and lifts me from the sinking sand

He takes me back; He gives me love
He takes me back; He gives me love
No matter how faithless
No matter how scared
No matter how far I run
He's still there
He takes me back; He gives me love

--Dan Meyers

Thanks for this post.