Of the time I have spent at the beach over the years, the most enjoyable minutes for me have been when we take a walk on the beach. I prefer early morning or late evening walks. I like it when it is a little cooler and the day is beginning with the arrival of the sun casting its rays upon the water, or when the day’s activities are done and darkness will soon cover the sand. I enjoy the seabirds floating gracefully through the air and the sand fiddlers busily scurrying across the sand! And I like to witness the waves continually rolling to shore and the sounds of their motion bring me peace. Even with the crashing of a storm or the retreating of the tide, the waves continue to break again and again. The waves coming ashore always erase the evidence of the past days activities on the sand.
If only my prayer life was like waves crashing on the beach, unstoppable, always busily rolling in. I long for that since of stability in my life that I see in nature, the birds glide without effort, the sand fiddlers go about their business and the tide comes and goes. But with the ability to choose God or deny His existence I sometimes find myself thinking I am above His creation. I am in charge! Why does it take a storm crashing upon my feet for me to surrender my will? Were we not made for one thing! After all, everything in creation has a purpose and all of creation, with the exception of we humans, do not get distracted with separation from our Creator!
The evil one can provide you with earthly treasure but you will never be truly joyful. There will always be something missing. We will always need the next thing as we continue to chase our tail around in circles seeking our next high! We are created and we are always longing for something. People and things cannot fill that void, there is only way to find true happiness and that stability that we all seek! Listen to the words of the psalmist! (Psalm 148) Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels, praise Him, all His host! Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars! Praise Him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the Name of the Lord! For He commanded and they were created. And He established them for ever and ever; He fixed their bounds which cannot be passed. Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling His command! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars.Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for His Name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for His people, praise for all His saints, for the people of Israel who are near to Him. Praise the Lord!
God’s grace and forgiveness can erase our sinful existence from yesterday like the waves consuming the beach at high tide. In Letters from a Russian Monk, Father John writes it like this “There is no sin that is beyond God’s mercy, and the sins of the whole world are like a handful of sand thrown into the sea.” With the grace and cleansing we received at our Holy Baptism which is repeated with our confession and consuming of His Most Holy Body and Blood at Holy Communion, we can be wiped clean and stand strong to face yet another day, storms or not, being about our Father’s business! Now may the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded among one another according to Christ Jesus, that with one accord and with one mouth ye may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 15:5-6)
Fr. Gabriel Weller 7-15-2018