Readings: Isaiah 12:2-6; Amos 9:8-15; Luke 1:57-66
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2
Over my recent sabbatical I decide that I wanted to try yoga on for size, so I signed up for a Sunday morning men’s class at a studio called the Ebb and Flow Wellness Center. It was a wonderful experience. As I walked in the door, I immediately experienced an abiding peace. The aroma of lavender was circulating through the air and I felt my body begin to let go of the stress of rushing to make it there on time. I paid my ten dollars and was led into the basement where the lights were dim and the music was soft and sweet. For over an hour we stretched and breathed. There was no judgment, no pressure; if I couldn’t do a pose, it was no problem, I would either do the best I could or just sit back and wait for the next pose. It felt good in that little cocoon, peaceful and relaxed. When the session was over, we all walked up out of the basement and back into the real world. As I left the Wellness Center I experienced the bright sun in my face, car horns honking, people milling around shouting at one another. It was even difficult to cross the road with the summer traffic, so I ran across the street to get to my car. Yes, I was back in the world again. After I got into my car to head home, I thought to myself, “life is really is made up of ebbs and flows.”
They say the earth is four and a half billion years old, give or take a half billion years, yet every day the ebbs and flows of the earth change the landscape and the seas forever. We don’t tend to notice it much because the changes are small and we are too preoccupied with what is going on in our own lives. We panic, we run away, we distract ourselves, we even make scapegoats of one another in order to cope with things beyond our control and at the same time, we search for and often discover moments of peace and meaning and beauty. These are the ebbs and flows of our lives, but they are not random or without purpose. All of life is contained in a reality that is too large to comprehend and yet as tangible as a piece of fruit dangling from a tree.
This reality becomes clear as you look over the story of the people of Israel. It is a reality that all of us will eventually succumb to. Elizabeth and Zechariah experienced it in a profound way as they pondered what would become of their son John and the meaning of his birth. Surely God is our salvation. Whether we choose to trust and not be afraid, well that may very well be subject to the ebbs of flows. Amen.
[Offered by Dave Fredrickson, pastor, spiritual director, seeker of the Christ child.]