“Again, Jesus said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’” Mark 4:30-32
The lone kayaker paddled inland from the Harbor, riding the rising tide at first light. He paddled fast against the pending change of tide, as if his efforts might buy him the chance to linger. I watched him flee the sea like a madman on holiday, chasing the watery breath of some imagined giant who sucked all life inward as if towards some as yet invisible shore.
Once water-borne there’s nothing to be done for it but to stay the course. Only a fool turns back against the tide, redoubling labors certain to fail, until, until, without any help at all from the silent paddler, the tide turns and the lone man with it, setting a new course back towards the open sea. Against the persistent pull of rising and falling waters, no remedy appears.
Every seaman knows both the power and vulnerability of making a life on the water. There’s no controlling the wind nor the waves, only watching the signs and choosing, when to go out, when to return. Trusting the absolute reliability of this ever-changing watery landscape, the only certainty is that every six hours the whole show will change.
Though I haven’t seen it, I should not be surprised to discover some bronzed sea captain holding forth for eternity with the unyielding message, “The sea always wins.” Against so much we cannot control, where then is our hope?
Our hope comes from God’s sufficiency. With faith no greater than a grain of mustard seed, we venture out buoyed and fearless into the deeps. However frightening that may seem, we can utterly trust God’s unfailing guidance through every calm water or troubled sea.
Prayer: We do not know the path before us. We cannot see where our story will end. Nevertheless, give us sufficient faith for this day, trusting your provision in all things. Amen
Prayer: God of summer gardens, reveal to us in green and growing things your work and your ways, that we might more fully trust in you. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach