Just last week, my husband and I and some mutual friends spent three days at the ocean. We camped at Grayland Beach State Park. Our campsites were just yards from the ocean. And what an ocean it was. There were long stretches of undisturbed, soft sandy beach where the minus tides gave the occasional beachcomber large spaces to explore. The waves crested and came slapping down on the beach, one after another after another. And the sound of the ocean was there all the time, a reminder of the ocean’s permanence and power.
More and more often, as I really take time to observe nature, I am sure that God is our creator.
I do not think it was coincidence that prior to leaving for the trip, I had just read an interesting commentary about the ocean, the waves and how the relationship between the waves and the ocean can be compared to our relationship to God. In the commentary, the ocean was compared to God and we human beings are the waves. Just like the waves are the surface manifestation of the ocean, we are the surface manifestation of God. God is the source of our being and we are part of God’s created order. The ocean is powerful and always present. God is all powerful and always present. And, like the waves, we are connected to God, but transient. Waves rise and fall, coming into being and falling away. So we rise up, come into being and then return to our source.
I like the expression that we are made from holy stuff.
There are some lessons I learned from thinking about this comparison. First of all, it may be a helpful way to explain our relationship to God to someone else who is new to faith. We can get all wound up in theological explanations that make sense to us, but not to a person who has not yet been exposed to ideas like the Trinity or God in three persons: God, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
And it may be hard for a “newbie” to understand how we share in the same substance with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But most people can identify with the ocean and waves crashing on the beach. While the comparison may not be perfect, it certainly strikes me as a good starting place.
I made another connection about our relationship to God this weekend. We can connect with God through a steady life punctuated by prayer. Our prayer words can become like the steady sounds of the ocean. The prayers go out, rise up and return to God. In those prayers we connect with God as our source, just like waves connect with their source of power, the ocean. The strength our relationship to God is dependent upon the steady ongoing voice we give to our prayers.
I was very happy to be back at the ocean beach. Like many people, I am drawn to the ocean. On the last day, I had my husband stop our truck so I could climb the dune one more time and say goodbye to the ocean. I stood there listening to the ocean and watching the waves hit the beach. I said a prayer for the sheer joy of the creation: “Thank you God, Thank you God, Thank you God.”