Sunday, July 26, 2020

United in the Mystery

I'm happy. 
Emerald Isle Sunset 2020
Photo by Tammy. Beauty by God.

After months of frustration and lamenting and anger and anxiety (cue the shingles), I'm feeling something I haven't felt in awhile. I'm genuinely happy today.

I'm sitting on the beach, with my husband and my children, socially distanced from the people and the news feed that surround us. We are playing in the water. We are eating popsicles. We are blasting tunes under a rusted beach umbrella.

Blasting Needtobreathe. Van Halen. Miles Davis. Sting (my disc jockey husband explains to the kids that this is especially for me).

But I decide to leave my Englishman in New York, because it's sweltering and the ocean is calling. And I realize, after taking just a few steps toward the water, that Sting's voice is gone. Not quieter. Just gone. Vanished. Stolen by the ocean wind without warning.

I don't give it much thought, and I keep moving toward the water's edge, passing a group of teenage girls blaring their own music. By the time I recognize Carrie Underwood's voice, I am a few steps past them. And just like Sting's walking cane, Carrie's Louisville Slugger has vanished into thin air.  

For a moment, I marvel that music playing loud enough to drown out my thoughts could be silenced so quickly. But the moment washes away with the waves until I make my way back to our chairs an hour later.

And then I notice. 

I notice that, no matter where I'm walking or sitting, there is one thing I can hear loud and clear above everything else. No matter how loudly anyone's music is playing.  

It is the ocean itself. The rhythmic crash and spray and soft ripple up the shore before sliding back into the deep. 

And I'm struck by the fact that no matter what music my tribe plays, or what sound the groups up and down the beach prefer, we are all united by the overarching soundtrack of the ocean.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. Psalm 29:3 NIV

And then it occurs to me that this is what the church is supposed to look like. Both the church universal and the church local. 


Catholic or Protestant
immersed or sprinkled
pre-trib or post-trib
free-willed or predestined 
quiet reverence or raised hands 
wingtips or flip-flops
Democrat or Republican
English speaking or Spanish
Darker or lighter 
...we are all seeking to listen to the same mysterious God. The one God who washes over us all with the truth of His sacrifice and resurrection. Who is revealed in part and concealed in part. 

In this season of unrest, can we please stop drowning each other with words of division? Can we please remember, instead, that we are washed together into the wide ocean of the Messiah's living water? United in the mystery that is Christ.
And HE IS before all things and in and through Him the universe is a harmonious whole. Colossians 1:17 WNT

Lord, thank you for creating us with such diversity. Sometimes it's hard for us to love each other well. Help us to learn from and appreciate each other as different parts singing together, so that others can hear the beautiful, "harmonious whole" of your salvation song.