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."