by Open Eyes
We recently sang a hymn:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in his justice that is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner, and more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior; there is healing in his blood.
We sang it daily using the 20th century tune, and it has lodged in my spirit. Living on the edge of the sea, I am touched by the hymn writer’s reference to the sea in expressing the nature of God. Another hymn, God is Working His Purpose Out, ends with the phrase “the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.” Ah, the sea. This photo views Rock Harbor and Cape Cod Bay from the top of our bell tower–showing the large glacial rock for which the harbor is named. Our church floor mosaic uses this rock to express our monastic vow of stability to live here with my other vowed brothers and sisters in Christ for the rest of my days.
One of our oldest members, Dean, died very recently. We praise God for his life, and ask God’s special blessing, comfort, and grace on his wife, two daughters, and his son.
One of our monastic customs is to take turns keeping vigil with the coffin in the church, for the day and night before the funeral. On Sunday, as all 250+ of us were accompanying the body of this faithful one into the church, I happened to look up through the great doors and see the bronze Angel of the Church of the Transfiguration looking down on us from atop the bell tower. I was suddenly struck with the type of awe and gratitude that sometimes comes in these “thin places” in life. There must, indeed, be holy ones keeping watch over all of us together, and each of us personally. Our weakness and strength, our sin and repentance, our joys and sorrows, our deepest sickness and our God-given health, are all gathered into Christ’s infinite love – bringing us, each one, safely home.
The Community of Jesus is located at Rock Harbor on Cape Cod Bay. Rock Harbor is a tidal harbor, which means that fishing boats can leave or enter the harbor only within a few hours of high tide. Fishing trips can last for four hours (during high tide) or eight hours (between high tides). While we were leaving on a four-hour trip, another boat was returning from an eight-hour trip. I go fishing only once or twice a year, so I especially appreciated this water view of the Church of the Transfiguration and the Bell Tower with the angel on top. Being on the sea was a refreshing expansion of my day-to-day land-bound existence.
Well, summer hit with a big hot bang yesterday! We’ve been coasting along in the mid 60’s and 70’s for weeks now…I knew the inevitable was coming. Because of the heat, the sisters’ recreation time together was moved to 7:15pm – a walk on the flats. It was beautiful…there was a breeze, and enough tidal pools to cool our feet, as well as reflect the sunset. There were lots of vacationers out enjoying the beauty as well. A number of them asked who we were. (I wasn’t realizing the impact 60 sisters would be – streaming down the beach – til I turned and looked!) It was a nice feeling to be able to point to the bell tower and angel at the Community of Jesus, and invite them to come and visit. I hope they do.