August 20, 2019

Keep us tethered to Your Being, O God. Shelter us in the storm. Hide us in the shadow of your wings. For our little boats are drifting from you and the storm is growing fierce as the sky darkens. Have mercy on us. Keep us safe.

The riverfront in Oriental is dotted with marinas and boatlifts and slips. Boats of all ilk sit in river water tied to poles or anchors or piers. Ropes, chains and cables connect to moorings sunk deep into the river bottom. Pilings of concrete with rebar have little hook eyes or cleats ready to receive and hold a boat. Boat owners count on sturdy moorings, stable piers and poles to keep their boats in place when the storms come.

Unsecured boats slip from moorings. They are tossed about like toys in howling wind. They follow currents to uncharted waters and shoals that threaten. Strong moorings secure a boat with enough slack to ride out a storm without being lost to it. After the storm, we ride through the county and see the boats that have broken loose. They litter the marshes and sink in helplessness to the bottom of the river.

Lyrics of the old hymn by Charles Tindley, Stand By Me, come to mind. “When the storms of life are raging, stand by me. When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea, Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.” From a different century, a hymn prayer rises as plea to God to stand with us, those in trouble, those who are feeble and old, all of us who fail, and all of us who are misunderstood. Old timey words resonate for a world that seems increasingly unmoored from its foundations.

Human beings are tossed in turbulence, snatched from jobs and families. Our world seems increasingly dangerous as rhetorical arrows pierce civility and our moorings fray. Loss of a boat is a first world problem. The loss of human kindness, generosity, stability and core values is measurable and will impact civilization for a lot longer than we can know.

Years ago when I started writing this little blog, I had a vision that there was a reader somewhere who needed a word of hope, a word of assurance that all would be well. Here is that word for you. All will be well as we are moored to Christ and in Christ. Yes the storms will come and we will be tossed and hurt. We will lose friends and jobs and money and health. But God has not moved the pier. God is still God. It is we who have lost our mooring, we who must awaken to Holy Presence.

This week I have been reading Rachel Held Evans book, Inspired. She devotes her book to new looks at Wisdom and Resistance stories in the Bible. She opens the section on Resistance with the story of Bree Newsome, a young South Carolina woman who scales a flagpole in front of the SC State House to strip the Confederate flag down. One act of resistance, one letter of complaint, one call to an elected official, one vote, one small act of kindness will begin to attach us again to the best of who we are as God’s Beloved.

The stormy voices of hate will be drowned and sunk in the growing chorus of hope. Moorings matter. To what or to whom are you moored? When have you felt lost in the storm? What is your small act that can change the world for good?

“In the midst of tribulation, stand by me, When the hosts of sin assail and my strength begins to fail, Thou who never lost a battle, stand by me.”

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