Whenever I take a cruise I love days at sea. Around the ship is nothing but ocean and sky. At first it’s a bit foreboding. Out there a lot of trust in God is needed. You hope the ship stays afloat—there’s no one around, at least not in the 12 miles visible to the horizon. You also hope the desalination system doesn’t crap out, the only supplier of fresh water. And any earth is 17,000 feet below you.
But this smallness that’s felt after just a brief gaze out to the waters leads to a real feeling of the presence of God. All you see is ocean and sky, water and air, two “elements” of sorts. Even the clouds are a form of water. Perhaps this is what the earth looked like in its early stages as told in the Genesis story:
“In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water.”
Soon after that God created light and the sky. At that stage—the stage I could imagine by just seeing the ocean and sky that surrounded our ship—there were no animals or human beings. All that existed was the mighty power of God and God’s power that was pulsing through the infant creation.
As creation continued, more and more came to be and through the centuries humankind has assisted in that creation with progress and transportation and technology. And through it all we see therapists and spiritual directors and take pills and read the Bible to make sense of all the struggles in our bodies and souls, those internal things that gnaw at us day after day. And that’s good and God is there, but when I look out to the horizon in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and all I can see is ocean and sky, the simplicity rids my rationalising mind of all the distractions my land-faring self focuses and refocuses on, and instead, for a moment, I just feel God in that simplicity of only sea and sky. I get a glimpse of an earlier stage of earth when I was just a thought in the mind of God. But that simple moment for me leaves plenty of room for me and God to just talk, without the ordinary distractions of daily life.
Can we find God in the busyness of life what with all its emotions and trees and animals and buildings and jobs and cars and bills? Yes. But when you look out at two of the very first earthly creations, before humans came along: sea and sky, it puts things in perspective and you see God in a very new way.
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