I love discovering new worship music and this next song is one of my more relatively recent “finds”. I can’t even remember how I found “Oceans” – I think it was on a compilation of songs and I just happened to stumble upon it but the more I listened, the more it spoke into my heart. It came at a time when I was feeling uncertain about the direction my life was taking and when I felt a bit lost in the decision making process. It was a time when I felt somewhat alone, when I had perhaps forgotten that as child of God I was never alone.
At this time I am aware that there few many people who may be struggling with feelings of loneliness, with concerns about which way their lives are heading.
Many people haven’t seen their loved ones for months and may feel that this period of isolation is endless. They may have spoken on the phone or even seen each other thanks to the wonders of technology but there is nothing quite like the touch of another human being, a hug from those we love, sitting and having a cup of tea and a good old chat without worrying if we’re 2 meters apart.
Others may be dealing with the practical and economic challenges of having lost their jobs, or being furloughed. Our identities are often bound up with what we “do” and when this is taken away we begin to question who we really are.
And it is in those feelings of abandonment, rejection and fear that we can reach out to God – “I am Yours and You are mine” the lyrics of Oceans remind us. We need to call upon His name, to try and lift our eyes beyond those things that threaten to overwhelm us. If we can mange even a glimpse beyond that, we can see the hope of the Lord, we can see God beckoning us, reaching out to take us by the hand and lead us through all of those things that we feel are going to engulf us, just as the waves of an ocean threaten to engulf the unwary swimmer.
No matter how scared we are, God is there, guiding us, helping us remain afloat, able to move forward, however slowly that may seem.
I love the sea, I love to swim in it, look at it, spend time just staring at the waves flowing in and out, timelessly as they have since the world came into being. But I know that the sea can be a place of danger as well as of wonder and that if I am to negotiate the waves safely I must keep my eyes fixed above them, I must stay on course so that I can reach the shore.
Yesterday we celebrated Ascension and for the next ten days we will journey towards Pentecost, a time when we celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need the Spirit to lead us forward, to encourage us, to embolden us to step out onto the water, rather than allow it to overcome us. We need to reach into the depths of our hearts and refresh our faith so that we are able to follow Jesus without fear, secure in the knowledge that when everything around us is changing he is our constant. He will never fail us and if we allow Him to take charge of our lives He will bless us by taking us to places we never dreamed we would have the courage to go to.
In this time when we are unable to enter the places where we would expect to feel the presence of God, we are reminded that He is everywhere. We don’t need to be in church to know He is next to us comforting us, above us protecting us, below us giving us a firm foundation on which to walk and beyond us, shining a light that we may feel confident to move forward through His grace and strength. Amen