We were staying in Bodega Bay over thanksgiving. The house we were staying in overlooked the bay with a full southern exposure. At this time of year both the sunrise and the sunset are visible with expansive beauty, inviting the soul into contemplation, reflection and peace.
Down the hill a bit, a short drive or a longer walk, was Bodega Bay itself. A wide bay with aquatic life of the avian and mammalian kind was visible at high tide. In addition to the mammalian wind surfers, sea otters were swimming on their back, sea lions were heard across the water, cormorants, pelicans, cranes and gulls all found life and sustenance from the shallow bay. At low tide the mammals were gone, and the birds were bold in their search for food.
A longer drive, around the bay and out onto a peninsula called Bodega Head, the waters were no longer sheltered and the waves of the Pacific crashed unabated on the shore. Yet the tides still rose and fell. Of all the rhythms of Creation, how, after all this time, do they still cleanse the beach? Marvelous and Wonderful tides.
It makes me wonder what is the equivalent of the tide in my spiritual life? Isn’t thanksgiving a rhythmic discipline and opportunity to experience marvel, wonder and cleansing? And Zechariah prophecies in Luke 1 about his own son John the Baptist:
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
The knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of [our] sins… This also is a repeating, faithful spiritual tide that comes invitationally and unceasingly because of the tender mercy of our God.
As Thanksgiving yields to Advent and then into Christmastide may the tides of thanksgiving and of forgiveness cleanse us and guide our feet, as individuals, as a church and as a nation, into paths of peace.