It was a clear, beautiful day and I was at the helm of a 34 sailboat crossing the Chesapeake Bay. Billowing clouds dotted the blue sky as we returned from a picnic spot. The main sail was full, jib was out with a gentle heel and we clipped across the water, just moving through the shipping channel. Everyone onboard was chatting or laughing or just basking in the daylight.
Suddenly, an enormous buoy blew past us on the starboard side, inches from boat’s side trim. It was so close that one guy instinctively lifted his elbow out of the way because it would have caught if he hadn’t. The owner of the boat was just coming up the steps from below and stood in the cabin doorway, blood-drained, open-mouthed, trying to breathe. I ducked down as low as I could to look under the sail to see if there was anything else in our way.
Before that moment I thought I had a full view of the bay. The sail blocked a portion of my view but, otherwise, I could see the wide horizon, the rest of the bay and closest tankers and other boats. As I got down and looked I could see that the rest of the waterway was as clear as I expected. The only thing that we could have hit was that buoy, just one of those that marked the shipping lane. No one else was looking ahead. They were just engaged with the company and the day. If we had hit that shipping lane buoy at the speed we were moving, we would have destroyed the boat and sunk immediately.
This is an image in my mind that depicts the guidance of culture for people who follow Jesus. It can feel like we are taking in all that there is to see and that we’re moving with the best understanding, but we are missing the presence of the tools we were given for safe guidance. We are focused on movement, momentum. Because we live in a society that values efficacy higher than honesty, desire more than truth, we move with assurance becomes something is what we want. More than even feeling like it is right, we are guided by what we want.
It is so hard for us to take a breath especially as politically correct rhetoric demands our allegiance and compliance. Taking a breath reminds us physically of being filled with the Spirit spiritually. As we seek oxygen for our body we seek truth for our souls.
Tonight the Elders of this church will decide whether to allow same-gender weddings in our sanctuary. With that decision our culture will determine that we are either loving or hate-filled. It won’t matter who we actually are, how we value people or whether we believe we are following Jesus. That isn’t what matters to our culture. What matters is that we move along with them.
May God bless us all,