It's low tide this morning. I love low tide. You really get to see what's beneath the surface. Most mornings I come down and everything looks glassy and smooth, waves rippling on the sand in even patterns. Not this morning...today it's ooey and gooey and slimy and green. Tide pools hold little creatures hostage. Crabs scurry for cover to elude the gulls. It's open and raw and honest. In a few hours the tide will come back in and cover it over again and for a time the illusion will hide the reality. The longer I've been in the pastoral artist profession, the more intrigued I've become by the process of the tides. It has become so much a visual image of the invisible process of an honest pursuit of Jesus.
I'm not even sure where in history it began. Perhaps somewhere before the dawn of time someone first articulated it innocently enough. Maybe it was in the form of encouragement. It might have been an innocent admiration. It could have been a form of optimistic aspiration. Somewhere back in time the notion was put forth that if you claimed a life and relationship with Jesus himself, then you were good to go. The hurdles came down. The temptations ceased. One brain was plucked out and another inserted to the extent that there had been both a personality and intellectual exchange with a better model. There was nothing to do, it was done for you. This, in my opinion, was the most powerful and insidious lie ever put forth on humanity.
Just when the hope of the world was delivered, literally, into our midst, a lie was whispered which became the single most effective weapon ever launched to neutralize and marginalize the message of the cross. And the lie is this... "the tide is never low in the life of a Christ follower". You were washed. You were cleansed. You were covered. The ooey gooey of the ocean floor doesn't exist for you any longer. Christ followers believe it and either create a false and unattractive facade or they perish in the strong undertow that they refuse to acknowledge. Skeptics believe it and are repulsed by the glimpses that they get when the tide inevitably goes out.
The truth, or the whole truth, of the matter is that the relationship with Jesus provides us with the hope of high tides and the promise that, in the end, we will be covered...but until then we all lie with the reality of an ocean floor and all that goes with it...and it's ooey and gooey and beautiful and messy all at the same time. The good news is that, knowing that I am created in Gods image, and acknowledging my love for walking in the low tide, I can only imagine that I inherited this from Him.