Last week at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we continued our sermon series on “Wilderness Living.” Our sermon took a look at the celebration of Passover. (Fast Food to Go). This week we look at the topic “Turn of The Tide” basing our thoughts upon Exodus 14:19-31.
I grew up in the United Kingdom near a place called Hilbre Island. Hilbre Island (pictured above) is a wonderful tiny island situated in the middle of the River Dee between the Wirral Peninsular and Wales. Though only a tiny strip of land, it is home to many rare visiting seabirds and a colony of seals.
I have a friend that still lives in the area who often posts pictures on her Facebook page of the wildlife there. It is only accessible, from the Wirral side, by walking across the sands from West Kirby... at low tide. It was not unusual to find stories like the following in our local newspaper;
“A terrified couple stranded in the Dee Estuary by a fast rising tide were rescued thanks to the quick thinking of an off-duty lifeguard. The two adults, who were trying to get to Hilbre Island, became stranded as water from an exceptionally high tide surged past their waists. They had been attempting to walk across to the nature hotspot but “misjudged” the incoming spring tide, HM Coastguard said.
An off-duty lifeguard from Wirral beach patrol spotted the pair in trouble and raised the alarm. A spokeswoman for the Coastguard today said that the lifeguard’s actions 'saved their lives'.”
I remember from my own days living in that area just how quickly the tide used to come in and how easy it was to find yourself in a tricky situation! It can be a deadly mistake not to pay attention to shifting tides.
At a later date my wife worked in the administrative department of the “Department of Coastal and Estuarine Studies” of the University of Wales. One of the many jobs of the department was producing the annual “Tide Tables” - a booklet that gave the precise times of the incoming and outgoing tides all around the coastline. This was information of vital importance to island explorers, navigators and anybody who made their livelihood from the sea.
These are days when we see great shifting tides of opinion and understanding. Things we once thought of as certainties are now questioned. The role of religion is no longer such a guiding force in many peoples lives. Behavior we once considered strange is now acceptable. For sure, change isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some things need to change!
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament offer us a form of “Tide-Table” to help us through. Disciplines of corporate worship and personal prayer can help us interpret God's word to our current situation. The tide turns. Always has. Always will.
We are not called to navigate uncharted waters alone. Through community and fellowship, through the “Love of God, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit”... many believe we can find the direction we seek. May God help us all find the resources we need for the living of these days!
For some music a song by “The Fray”called “Changing Tides.” Though the song is about a romantic relationship it could equally be applied to our journey of discipleship.
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.