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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 104:24–35

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
    creeping things innumerable are there,
    living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
    and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you
    to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
    and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

I never thought we’d be cruise people, but we definitely are. A cruise is so relaxing: you unpack only once; someone makes your bed and refreshes your ice bucket; you get fed and entertained; and you can drink free champagne at an art auction or work out in the gym or just sit on your balcony and watch the water go by. On that balcony, you can feel the speed the ship makes through the water; you can see how high up from the “ground” you are; you can tick off the miles of water all around you, the empty sky above you, and the minuscule chance of being found in all that vastness should you be lost. If you ever want to feel really small, get on a boat and take it anywhere that you can’t see land.

It makes me wonder about those early sailors, the ones who didn’t have a cabin steward and a dining room and a theater on board. The ones who went out in little wooden boats, dependent on the strength of their arms or the wind to move them along—hopefully in the right direction. The ones who made that leap of faith that today the sea would not try to kill them; that there wouldn’t be a storm or a sea monster waiting; that the boat would hold together; and that they would be able to feed their family with the fish or traded goods that they brought home.

What a joyous return that would be. How grateful the ones who sailed and the ones who waited. Unlike us, at the end of our vacation at sea, who are reluctant to pack up, reluctant to leave the boat. On our next cruise, I’m going to try and be more joyful, more grateful, more appreciative of all that is provided—including the opportunity to return to land.

Dear Lord, thank you for the opportunity to sail and the chance to be lost and the joyous return to land. Amen.

Written by Jean Marie Koon, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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