UNBORN WORD of the day

July 26, 2008, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Thriving Not Just Surviving!


A series of reflections on living the Christian Life in a Time of Cultural Upheaval (a Culture of Life under attack by a culture of death which erodes traditional beliefs and values).


This is one of the paintings on the walls of the Greek Orthodox Church in Capernaum. Note that Jesus is depicted twice in the painting: once asleep and once calming the storm.

When I was a teenager I had two friends whose families both owned sail boats. Since we lived very close to a lake I went sailing with them quite a bit. One sailboat was a beautiful, sleek “Flying Dutchman” that was responsive and supple and a joy to sail. This friend raced at the yacht club and had a pretty good record. The other boat was a pint-size bright red wood dinghy with a sail.

In my life I relate more to the humble dinghy than the more sophisticated “Flying Dutchman”. I remember many occasions when we were in the dinghy and large boats were all around us causing havoc as each wake-created wave would assail us and send us furiously bobbing up and down as sail and rudder both suffered temporary paralysis. And the zipping motorboats seemed to enjoy upsetting our modestly proposed course, waving to us with smiles of delight as we held on to our frowns of consternation.

So there you are, a little dinghy of a boat out on the waters of civilization and you are experiencing cultural upheaval to port and starboard, the winds of change are not cooperating either. You don’t really have too many choices. You can abandon your faith (and its cherished interwoven faith teachings and moral wisdom) – this little dinghy that keeps you afloat and more or less on course – or you can hold fast to your faith and weather the storm as best you can using sail and rudder and maturing insight to get you to your destination.

Your simple dinghy is part of a worldwide flotilla of dinghies that spans the centuries and encompasses the world. This Flotilla of Faith is impressive not for its vast numbers alone but more for its Divine Artisan and Commander. Each tiny dinghy flies a little flag with a cross on it which blows valiantly in the breezes of life. Each tiny dinghy has its mother ship in sight – the Great Barque of Peter – which toils onward amidst storms and human catastrophes, onward, propelled not by the motors of men but by the breath of the Spirit, exhaled eternally for all humanity to be freshened by and moved by. This is our confidence! This is our hope! And there is much joy besides!

We have a biblical precedent for comparing a little dinghy to our faith-life. Remember the evening when Jesus and His disciples set out to cross the lake and a raging storm came upon them suddenly? Where was the Lord? “But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion” (Mk 4:38). ‘Where is God when we need Him?’ our fear and confusion demands. So they cried out: “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And His reply? “Where is your faith?” (Lk 8:24-25). He rebuked the wind and the waves, a calm ensued, and the rest is Mystery…

George A. Peate, July 26, 2008

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