Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sand and Rock

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock." Matthew 7:25-26

When our children were small, we would often make one last trip to the beach at the end of the summer. They loved swimming in the ocean, riding waves and digging in the sand. Hours were spent constructing sand castles and elaborate moats to keep the ocean out. On the last walk on the beach in the summer, each of our girls would pick up as many shells as possible. I would often observe them as they filled their pockets with sand. An uncomfortable way to walk around, let alone sit for hours in the car, but they seemed compelled to do it. We would talk about our summer adventures on the ride home and eventually the collections of shells and sand would be mentioned. One year someone put it clearly,"I am gathering up summer, so I can spread it around during the winter." Sand is a tactile reminder of the fleeting season, of warmth and water, time suspended and life lived out of doors. Rocks remind us of what is solid and permanent, reliable through time and all seasons.
Every year about this time I am tempted to collect sand too, just to remember the time and people that flee away. We are in that cycle of the year, when we draw in, when we batten down and put away the summer things. And I always want to linger on the sand.

Jesus invites us to build upon the rock, the relationship of constancy and permanence that is found in God. He doesn't dismiss the beauty of summer and sand, the short bursts of fleeting summer but rather calls us to know what is firm and what is unreliable in our lives. God is reliable through storm and season. God is strength when we are weak and all our human relationships slide away into the sea. God invites us in this tender in-between season to remember who is permanent and holding us up throughout time.

May this first day of October, as summer fades away, be a reminder of the constancy and permanence of the Love God holds for us. No matter how we turn with the fashion and the seasons, God does not turn from us. God is unmoved by our negligence, always waiting for us to come home.

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