Saturday, September 10, 2005

Caught underwater, breathing; Breathing is hard

So I had an cool experience the other night. It was a Thursday and Sara and I went with some of out friends to the lighthouse is Michigan City. First of all, it was just a great time. We went with some really fun people and it was just nice to hang out and talk at such an awesome place. But what i really want to talk about was my experience at the lighthouse.
It was about 9:00 or so when we got there and it was completely dark. We walked out on this concrete isthmus that connected the beach to the lighthouse then walked around the lighthouse to this little area of concrete slabs. It was completely dark except for some light coming off the boardwalk and a little moonlight. As we were sitting and standing respectively, I walked down to the edge of the slab where the metal rods that supported the concrete from the inside were exposed from years of erosion. It was pretty windy that night and the lake had large peaking waves crashing into the beach. At the lighthouse, we were surrounded by large rocks that were placed around the lighthouse to break the water and prevent it from doing too much damage, though clearly the water had payed its toll on our particular location.
From where I stood, all i could see was black water that would creep every now and again pull back from the rocks and then lurch out in a white foam overcoming the rocks and pouring onto the slab I was standing on. As strange as it sounds, it acted almost animated; like some great beast crouching and then launching forward, clawing to reach you gurgling, hissing, and roaring the whole way. As i watched this happen over and over I couldn't help but feel some fear sneak into my mind as i wondered "what would happen if i got pulled out into the water? Would it crush me against the rocks? Would it pull me out away from shore/ Would nybody find me?"
That's when i realized that if i feel this way now, with satallites, cell phones, the coast gaurd (or whatever you call those guys that patrol the lakes) how much more would people have feared centuries or millenia ago when there weren't even well documented maps! At that point God pointed my minds eye (used poetically, not theologically, philosophically, or physiologically) to baptism. In Christ's time, water (as in Seas, Oceans, etc) was a symbol for chaos and death as it had been in Jewish tradition before then. To be baptized, to be immersed in water, is to enter into death. It is to be overcome by the swirling waters that covered the world and destroyed the wicked in the times of Noah and that killed the pigs filled with demons in the time of Christ. In our baptism we are drowned. The old man is left in those waters and, through Christ's gift of grace, the new man emerges.
As i looked at that black water and felt that fear run through me, I was calmed by this thought. That in my baptism I was brought beneath the waters where my body was dashed against the rocks and i was carried deeper and further from shore. But Christ brought me up just as He did with Peter when he stepped out of the boat and began to sink. Because when it comes down to it, we all sink. We all have this inexplicable tendency to pick up the heavy wieght of our past sin and adding the weight of new sin; as if we are chaining oursleves to the carcass of the "old man" and then trying to cross the water with it. But we cannot cross with this weight. And there is Jesus holding down his hand to us. All we have to do is let go of that sin we carry and grab onto Him. Forgive my analogy within an analogy, but it remind me of the last Indiana Jones where Indy is hanging over a cliff trying to reach this treasure he had sought for his whole life (which was the holy grail, but tht doesn't really matter for my point). He at that point must choose between grabbing this treasure and dying or reaching up to his father's hand and being pulled to safety. That is the choice we face everyday. Do we grab onto our sin, take back the old self. Or do we affirm the promise made in baptism and stay above the water through Christ's grace.
That's what came to me at the lighthouse that night with my friends. It's just incredible the places and times God speaks to us.

" we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows, those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble."
Dan, 6:43 PM

2 Comments:

Very well written, Dan, very well written indeed....
Blogger samantha, at 4:58 PM  
Man, all I got out of that night was a little pee on my jeans.
Blogger Miss Sara, at 9:59 AM  

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