Recently I went for a walk along the Blue Mile and harbour foreshore. It was a clear, mild day and after all the wild weather we’ve had I seized the opportunity to get out of the house for a bit. There were even a few glimpses of watery sun peeking through the clouds. Glorious!
As I turned up the headland path leading toward the lighthouse, I was struck by how incongruous it looked, standing there above a glassy ocean lapping gently against the rocks below. Surely the point of a lighthouse is for when the sea is smashing itself against the cliff, to warn ships of the rocks or shine a beacon to safe harbour. Who needs a lighthouse when the day is bright and the sea is smooth?
I thought, then, about how easily I can slip into a bit of a ‘sailor’ approach to God. When I’m tossed about in life’s waves, it’s obvious that I need a guiding light and refuge. But what about when things are calm? Lighthouses doesn’t just turn up when there’s a storm. They’re always there, strong and ready, no matter the weather.
Then I got thinking about lighthouse keepers. Most lighthouses now are automated. But even then, someone has to be mindful to attend regularly, for nothing else if basic maintenance. Good keepers tend conscientiously to their lighthouse, remembering to go there when the sun is shining as well as when the waters rise.
As I looked up at the lighthouse, just as tall on a calm morning as in the raging night, I wondered if I am more inclined to be like a keeper or a sailor. Do I show up daily… or just when things are getting rough?
It’s not a perfect metaphor, of course. For starters, God doesn’t need to be maintained or switched on – and unlike a lighthouse, He is necessary always! But it was an interesting exercise in considering my own heart and habits. It’s good to look to the Lord for safe navigation through perilous straits. But I also want the kind of relationship with Him which has the well-oiled functionality of regular tending.
As we embark on our prayer sermon series, I’m encouraged by the reminder that while God is there and ready whenever I manage to lift my eyes and cry out to Him, our relationship flourishes more brightly if I also faithfully approach Him in all weather and seasons of my life.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”” – Proverbs 3:5-6
5pm Congregation / St Michael’s Admin Assistant