The fog lingered in the morning as the sun was rising over the bay. As I walked along the waters edge, these little forage fish (I’m no ichthyologist to be able to identify them) not only swam along the shoreline, but popped up to the surface, creating bubbles all around.
It looked like water beginning to boil in a stove. The whole food chain had risen that otherwise calm and still morning. Besides the burbling of these little fish, the only other noise came from pelicans who quietly glided along the surface of the water only to awkwardly, but very effectively, plunge into the water for breakfast, having to process their meal a little before washing it down their throats.
It really was an active, lively scene, a whole "circle of life" experience there that morning, but with this heavy cloud of fog obstructing what would have otherwise been a beautiful tropical scene. The fog changed the experience.
We are in the middle of Lent. On Ash Wednesday many of us Christians went to a service where the sign of the cross was placed on our foreheads with the ashes from the Palms of last year’s Easter celebration. We were marked as sinners deserving of death, and a fog was placed over us for a season. It’s a voluntary fog. Some might deride it as contrived. I think of it as a discipline, as a will-full way to be honest with my own frailties, my own sin, a way to fully appreciate the gift of Easter.
You see, the fog that morning lingered longer than I would have thought. But the weather report had said sunshine, and so I knew that the beauty of the bay would be there eventually, I just had to wait.
Lent is a 40 day period of waiting for the fog to lift. The waters teeming with game was a reminder to me that life goes on under the fog. The regular course of our lives doesn’t stop (Praise God!) during this time, we just seek to cloak it in the muted tones of our own need for grace. This grace is coming, it comes likes the predicted sunshine that would permeate the rest of that day by the bay, it comes with the certainty of the historical record of the resurrection, but with the certainty of God’s goodness displayed for us in the fullness of the Philippians Hymn (please read what is my favorite passage of Scripture, Philippians 2:5-11).
More important than the historical record of Easter is the ascent that we give to it in faith.
The most significant Easters for me have been the ones where I allowed the fog to permeate my soul, influence my conscious (I don’t mean to leave out conscience, but intentionally meant conscious-ness), and where during Easter sunrise service the rising of the Son wipes it all away.
As the line Tony Campolo made so famous says, It’s Friday, But Sunday is Coming!
Back from the shore,
The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.