Friends, hello again! What news this week? I flew into Kodiak for a couple of days. We skiff for 25 minutes to the village of Larsen Bay, the home of our cannery, Icicle Seafoods. Then fly out on a bush plane.
It was a minus tide that day. All week we've been in the highest and lowest tides of the year, from -5.8 to 21.6, a tidal range of 26+ feet. We walked our luggage (always in boxes) across the ocean floor only rarely exposed. I feel shy and illlicit, as though I am treading on the undergarments of the sea.
I love the cannery at Larsen Bay. We meet old friends here, fellow fishermen. We eat ice cream. We talk weather, fishing, politics. The day Trump and Putin met in Finland, I was here.
I don't have radio at fishcamp and internet is limited. I am unplugged from the world news mostly. But suddenly I hear the news. The radio is on. The screens are flickering.
There is disbelief. Anger. Outrage. Defense. Attack. Surely it's unprecedented, the words spoken then denied. What a wicked new world! we say as we shake our heads and our fists at our politicians, our heads-of-state, the media, whoever we are blaming.
But listen, nations come and go. Leaders come and go. America is not very great right now, and it shakes my faith not at all. America is not very great right now, and in truth, my faith is stronger. I'm not gloved up in the ring of the Culture and Politic Wars fighting to make America Christian again, no matter the cost. I'm not interested in trying to recover or create a "Christian nation." I am more interested in what Jesus was interested in: living and enacting right here the great good news of another country, another kingdom, another king, who rules by Love. And Justice. And Mercy.
Who is this king? A king who counted his life as less than mine. Less than mine. And less than yours. And who were we when this King hung up his life for us? We were slaves, ragmen, washerwomen. Prisoners. We were nothing. But not to Him. He counted us worthy. He counted us worthy when no one else did.
As the nations rattle and roil, I am not shaken. Remember this?
Why the big noise, nations?
Why the mean plots, peoples?
Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks,
The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
“Let’s get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!”
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing.
At first he’s amused at their presumption;
Then he gets good and angry.
Furiously, he shuts them up:
“Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet
Is spread for him on the holy summit.”
Let me tell you what God said next.
He said, “You’re my son,
And today is your birthday.
What do you want? Name it:
Nations as a present? continents as a prize?
You can command them all to dance for you,
Or throw them out with tomorrow’s trash.”
So, rebel-kings, use your heads;
Upstart-judges, learn your lesson:
Worship God in adoring embrace,
Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah!
Your very lives are in danger, you know;
His anger is about to explode,
But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!
(Psalm 2, The Message)
My message this week is simple.
As our nation shakes and totters, we need not be shaken.
Because we're with Him.
We're living in His kingdom now. Already.
And if you're not, the doors and gates and window are open to you
Now. Already. Just enter.
(And listen to this version of Handel's "Who is This King of Glory?" Can you keep your hands from rising?)
How do YOU stay grounded, sane and loving in the midst of political turmoil?