Hallo again to all.
We are sitting in a borrowed house at the edge of the ocean, looking at the sea, listening to the sounds of the gulls and the waves and the wind, remembering a church service in a town far away from home, in which all is familiar but all is new. We have come to this particular spot on this particular ocean almost every summer of our life, as did our parents and theirs before them. Holidaying here is a family tradition.
So many of the events reported and implied in the Bible involve the sea, for in that place and time, the sea was vital for food, transportation, and context. The design of fishing boats has not changed a great deal since then, though they have motors and radios now. The sand is the same; the fish are the same. The shells, birds, scents, sounds, and salt air are the same. We can stand here at the edge of the sea, looking away from shore, and guess that nothing is very much different from what Jesus or the apostles would have seen.
So much of the essence of life and faith is changeless, and the rest of it survives change. God is eternal. Faith is eternal. The church is made by mortals. The details, the culture, the technology, the things created by us, all evolve and change, but human beings seem unchanging. Our species survives, our world survives, our faith survives. Whether that survival is more due to the contributed blood of the martyrs or to very excellent planning by the Creator, we can never know. Nor, we think, should we even try.
We hear a lot of urgent assertionspropagated by the same technology that lets you read Anglicans Onlinethat if this or that is allowed to happen or is prevented from happening, it will destroy the church or ruin the church or splinter the church. We have never been able to feel a kinship with Chicken Little, and coming here to the sea helps us see what is timeless and traditional. We hope you find ways of your own to do so. There are so many traditions, reaching back in time as far as you like...
Love is most nearly itself
TS Eliot, East Coker (No. 2 of 'Four Quartets')
Normally in this space we say 'see you next week'. We'll modify that slightly: The Anglicans Online editorial and news staff are taking a little holiday for the next two Sundays, so we'll see you 21 July. All of the rest of AO, save for the front page and the News Centre, will be hereas always. And should something surprising or momentous happen while we're off duty, we'll find a way to update the News Centre from here.
See you soon.
Last updated: 30 June 2002