crossing the bar
In advance, I apologize to the nautically savvy. I am not. Onward we go. Our family watched The Finest Hour this weekend. What an impacting film. It is a true story about Bernie Webber who was a United States Coast Guardsman. In an effort to not give too much away, he was asked to go out during a storm on February 18, 1952 to rescue a tanker named the SS Pendleton. It had broken in two off the shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was cold. It was stormy. In the retelling, acquaintances dubbed his going a suicide mission. There was a sand bar in the harbor that moved. On a good day you could see your way around it, but during a storm it was just not done. Also, looming in the background was a previous mission he was involved in that saw people lose their lives. Understanding that he had his orders, the concerned suggested to him that he should circle the harbor, "get lost" and come back in. He refused. He said, "the Coast Guard says you have to go out, they don't say you have to come back" and off he went to pick an apprehensive crew. He had a job to do. He was passionate about his mission. It made me reflect on my walk as a Disciple of Christ. On one side the church. Showing up. Shaking hands. Encouraging words. Singing in Choir. Serving in children's ministry. Women's studies. Helping elderly neighbors... All good things for sure, safe good things, but am I crossing the bar? Christ crossed the bar. Paul crossed the bar. As a church we are studying the book of Acts and I am moved by Paul's example in Acts 20:22-24. Paul says he knows that he is not coming back and that prison and hardship is facing him everywhere he goes, but he is committed to complete the task that Christ gave him of sharing the good news of God's grace. I am so grateful to God for sending John and Ildi many years ago to study the Bible with this clueless and sometimes stubborn girl and her reluctant husband. Hey honey, the guy I met at the grocery store is coming over with his wife to do a Bible study, did not go very well in my Catholic household. I am pretty sure I heard, "you owe me," murmered... In the end, it transformed my family. I have shared this joy, but there are times I have circled the harbor hemmed in by the bar. In my life that bar has taken different forms as surely as it does in the ocean. It has taken the form of illness. It has taken the form of financial hardship. Most disappointingly and quite simply it has taken the form of selfishness and lack of focus. Lack of missional mentality. I went to a church once and it had a sign that on one side welcomed you and on the other side as you exited it said, "you are entering your mission field." I want to hang that on my bedroom door. Everyday we wake up we have a choice to merely exist or live the full life God called us to. We were not given a spirit of timidity, (2 Timothy 1:7) but one of power and love. We were not called to seek and save the polished. Not just the mom sitting next to us on the yoga mat or a friend we bump into from years ago, share with them too, but Christ's call was to seek and save the lost everywhere. My son was at the Walmart the other day and an employee went out of his way to help my son find the right gloves. A conversation ensued and my son asked him if he went to church around here. The man said,"not since I was a kid, my life has been real hard, but maybe that's what I need in my life, More Jesus!" He asked my son about church before getting called away on the speaker. It reminded me that we were called to make the most of EVERY opportunity. To daily cross that bar, regardless of the weather, while I remember who first crossed it for me.
Ephesians 5:16 NLT
Make the most of every opportunity