A Daily Dose of Good News
Thursday, May 14, 2020
When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.
As a congregation, a community, a world
Our voyage together began over 8 weeks ago now.
We cast off the shores of a life where by and large
We were free to move about as we wished
From a local coffee shop to some exotic far off places.
We enjoyed the esprit de corps generated by the company of others
Whether small dinner parties of throngs of 1000’s at the game or concerts.
Most everyone who wanted a job had at least something
And the economy was strong.
We worship together.
We communed together.
We sang together.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic
Pushed us away from life as we knew it
To who knows where?
And before we knew it,
We had sailed out of sight of land.
We didn’t know where we were going
Nor how long it was going to take to get there.
Only a twinkle of a star here and there
Guiding us around the biggest rocks in the water
And the strongest storms across the sea.
After 8 weeks of such disorientation,
Another shoreline begins to emerge
Faintly visible through the fog on the distant horizon.
Still too far away to see what our new destination is
But not so far as to realize what it is not.
It is not just like the life we left.
We are not going back to the way things were.
We will be arriving somewhere new.
And while the conditions of life at our new destination
Are most certainly going to be different
Than the conditions of the life we left,
The values and qualities will be the same
As we carry them with us on this journey by faith.
As sure as God accompanied Paul on his treacherous voyage
God accompanies us on our pandemic voyage now
In the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter how freely we move in the life that emerges within the pandemic
The Spirit will always move with us.
No matter the size of groups that we gather
It will be the Spirit who gathers us
Just as the Spirit has done
Via telephone and mail and Zoom the last 8 weeks.
Whatever the economy and status of jobs
The Spirit will continue to move us
With compassion and generosity toward one another
And new enterprises to share.
And the Spirit will gather us anew
Into community as the body of Christ
Who is just as surely raised from the dead
Wherever we go.