There were many great benefits to growing up in the Midwest, but one of the big drawbacks was not being close to an ocean. For us the ocean was magical, and most of our friends spent at least a week by one every year! So we would complain to our father. Our father, who always wanted to give us everything, all-be-it in good Central European frugality, he took us to Lake Michigan and said see, the ocean. My brothers and I would laugh pointing out the obvious, to which he responded, “Do the beaches have sand? Can you see the other side? See, just like the ocean!” It would have been futile to argue, plus we would always have busy work of play so we went along with his delusion!
My dad was right in that it was bigger than we could see and we took that into our imagination. My brother being into Jules Verne tried hard to convince me that there were hidden cities on the floor of the lake! But I would wonder about all the secrets that the lake held. I often wonder, too, if there were other little boys sitting on other beaches around the lake wondering the same things I was. Most of all I remember just how awesome the whole thing was, and though it was not the ocean it was more than I could comprehend, so I had to take my knowledge from what I saw and could learn from book, but never really see for myself the whole.
The week we are given a passage from Ephesians that reminds us of many things. First, he reminds us of our connectedness to God, that even though we are not of Hebrew decent, we are all of his creation. He reminds us of the strength we can get through our faith and the spirit when we live in love, but most of all he reminds us that God, his love, are both far greater than we can even fathom, yet utterly understandable when we have faith.
Now that I have been to an ocean, I know there are vast differences. Yet, when I think to our numerous trips to lake Michigan, having now lived most of my adult life within an hour of an Ocean, I still get the same awesome feeling of wonder when I look out and see something that is both too big to fully comprehend, yet utterly understandable. I think this was one of those lessons from my father when he asked: “can you see the other side?” He knew full well that is was different than the ocean, but he could not bring us there, but he could give us the understanding of what it was like to see just a piece of a whole and use our imagination and understanding to complete that.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen