I have not taken a breather to “eddy out” for a while. I just travelled across the country with a dozen undergraduate geology students…in planes, cars, through two border crossings and three time zones. I am lucky I can still type! All is well and we are set to begin a geologic adventure exploring the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
These islands were carved and shaped by a massive glacier about a mile thick called the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Since glaciers are made of solid water I thought it appropriate to explore the spiritual metaphors of islands and how they can be sculpted and shaped by glaciers. We have explored in previous posts how God is like water…in today’s post let’s explore ways that God is like a glacier and we are like islands.
Glaciers like the one that shaped the San Juan Islands were massive, slow moving, ephemeral (they were here – now they are not), and profoundly changed the landscape through which they passed. As I ponder this it seems to me that God, when He showed up on earth as Jesus, was like the glacier that shaped the San Juan’s and we are the sculpted islands.
Jesus was certainly massive…for the Doctor Who fans out there…He was bigger on the inside than the outside. He was so big that people were attracted to His very presence by the “gravity” of who He was and the love that emanated from Him. His spiritual presence was so big that the Pharisees and Sadducees felt they were being pushed aside. They chose to defy “gravity” and placed Him on a cross rather than enter His orbit.
Glaciers move slow, but their movement is relentless and constant. They accomplish their sculpting with the help of rocks embedded in the glacial ice. When these fragments are very large and they get left behind when the glacier melts they are called glacial erratics. Jesus started slow with a few followers, but He was, and is, relentless and constant. He picked up followers along the way. They became embedded in His movement and helped him to sculpt and shape the lives of those they encountered. It seems like His disciples often wanted Him to move faster, but God’s time is not our time. I often show time lapse videos of glaciers moving to my students so they can see something not visible to our unaided eye. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could create spiritual time lapse videos of God shaping our lives like glaciers shape the landscape.
Glaciers are ephemeral, they come and go over long periods. God is not ephemeral, but His physical presence in the form of Jesus came and went from earth. His profound impact on us “islands” and the world remains. God in heaven and the holy spirit also remain to send rain on us tender plants and continue the sculpting of our souls. Although the “glacier” is gone, Jesus remains in us, and He has promised to return.
Prayer: God continue to shape the landscape of my life with Your love for me.