Reimagining Church

Thriving Congregations Initiative: New Models for the 21st Century

Ebb Tide

By Caroline Blosser

Let us remember that we are profoundly loved, and so need never stay afraid. And that nothing that has been broken is beyond God’s mending. Amen.

I am coming to love the ebb tides of life. 

For when the tides go out, and the waters of seeming abundance recede, an ebb tide reveals treasures not otherwise seen.

Sometimes these include hidden things, that were always there, but are covered up when the waters of plenty are high, and the tides are in. 

An ebb tide teaches us new ways to pay attention.

Sometimes in an ebb tide, the waters recede, so a path can appear. 

I think of Moses and the parting of the red sea, the people being led across a sandy barren sea floor, as God pushes the waters aside, sending the tides out. God of the ebb tide, making a way where there was no way.

In the Reimagining Church process, many congregations come to this project, I think, feeling in their various and distinct ways, like their church, emerging from the monsoon of the pandemic, is in an ebb tide time.   

The tide has gone out. Which can feel frightening. 

Finding ourselves right now in advent, this season, too, is a kind of ebb time.   The days are getting shorter. We wait, expectantly. We wait for the waters to return. 

We wait for Mary’s baby.

The one who will announce new futures.

The one who will lift up the lowly. Fill the hungry with good things, bring good news to the oppressed, mend those who are brokenhearted, and set the captives free. 

God is arriving. Mary’s baby. Becoming creature, God enters the tides of our creaturely life, joining us in our ebbs and our flows, joining our ebb tides back into God’s own abundant life. The Tomb Breaker, the Living Water, who set the sun and moon and sky to rule over the tides, who will wade in the water with us, and walk the waterless barrens, with us, delighting in us, offering us unimaginable treasures of joy and life abounding. 

But for now, we wait a while longer. And learn to see the treasures the ebb tide reveals.

Photo credit | Caroline Blosser