I currently work as a deckhand on ferry boats that visit islands in Boston Harbor. The day begins a few hours before the first run, preparing the boat. There’s things like handling the leftover problems in cleaning and set-up that the crew from the previous day couldn’t get to. Re-stocking the concessions galley. Getting the windows unlocked, all the doors open, chairs out and setup. Checking fuel levels and refilling potable water. Sometimes the boat has to brought to another dock for some of those things. And then finally, people can board and the first run begins.
After almost an hour, we get to an island, and we get the boat docked and tie it securely, and folks get off and others get on. Then, we take off for Boston again. We repeat that a number of times in the day until the last run. After that, it’s time to clean everything and get things ready to be shut down and prepped for the next day. By the end of the day, it’s been 12 hours. During those 12 hours, there are no trips to the coffee shop, no running errands at CVS, no visit to the restaurant, or getting out for a walk, or going home early, or stepping out to pick up and drop off the kids. Once you get on the boat, you’re on it til the end.
So, as I make my trip home at the end of the day, I notice something.
The rhythm of the sea.
The whole world is still moving up and down.
That’s how it is after 3 days of 12 hours a day of being on floating boats and docks. My bathroom mirror moves up and down. My stairs move up and down. Everything in life has ups and downs in a different way.
It has the rhythm of the sea.
There is a moment in the Gospel where Jesus calls fisherman, Peter, James, and John. They leave their boats behind to follow Jesus. But what they are really doing is getting on board Jesus’ boat. Everything they are going to do for the next 3 years is going to be on Jesus’ boat, with a different rhythm, with a whole new pace of ups and downs. And when they finally get off the boat, after the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, they are going to go out into the world and the world is not going to be the same for them. There will be ups and downs in a whole different way.
They’ll still have the rhythm of Jesus’ boat. The rhythm of God’s kingdom.
The experience of Jesus means getting on his boat. It’s a total commitment. You will spend time in God’s kingdom, journeying with new ups and downs – a new rhythm. And the effects will never go away in life. They will always continue and will change the way you look at life, even after the experience passes.
You’ll have the rhythm of God’s kingdom.
We’re boarding now.
When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him. (Lk 5:11)