By Clare Andreasson
Sometimes it is an image that grounds me and brings me grace.
In late January, the week before the vestry retreat, Rosemary Hagan and I met to prepare and to pray. During our prayer, as Rosemary spoke of the wind of the Holy Spirit, an unbidden image arose in my heart. I saw a small sailboat tacking back and forth in a strong wind through heavy seas. It was hard going, and yet the boat seemed to be dancing on the waves.
I shared this at the meeting after church last Sunday, and explained that this image feels to me like an apt metaphor for the work the vestry has been called to do. A sailboat is rarely able to move in a straight line from point A to point B. The wind changes direction, and the sailors need to adjust their course. They need to be attentive to the wind and to work well together in order to stay afloat. It may be hard, but there is joy in the journey.
We, as a vestry, are seeking prayerfully to work together so that the “wind of the Spirit” fills our sails. I feel deeply honored to be a part of this group of courageous, wise, and dedicated women and men.
The image of the sailboat also reminded me of a Celtic Christian prayer I learned in the early years of our marriage when my husband and I were living in England. The Celtic Christians lived in perilous times, yet their prayers were saturated with a sense of the presence of God in every aspect of their existence. They lived courageously. Some took to the sea in small boats, abandoning themselves to the wind and the will of God. This is their prayer – and mine:
God of the elements, glory to thee
For the lantern-guide of the ocean wide;
On my rudder’s helm may thine own hand be
And thy love abaft on the heaving sea.