Compass and rudder

Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict? Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean? O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea? O Christ, will You help me on the wild waves? St. Brendan's Prayer


Picture: The fog warning, Winslow Homer

Taking and losing our bearings

Is our faith development down to us? Is there a sense of being carried, of being drawn? Do we have to chase and press forward? Do we see life as obstacle, rather than gift: an open plain to wander and explore, and a freedom to take this route rather than that route? Are we servants, slaves of God? Are we lovers, friends of God? Obviously its all of these and navigating our way through and between these can be tiring and perplexing. During various seasons of faith, the emphasis or impress may lie in different places: foot pressed into the ground or rocking back on our heels; alert and poised ready for action or reclining in a deckchair. Should we always know where we are going? Sometimes we have the compass gripped in one hand desperately trying to locate a bearing. At other times the hand is firmly on the tiller, focused and sure of our purpose and place.

At sea

The throwaway line from a preacher hoves into view: 'the opposite of faith is not doubt it is certainty'. What am I expecting of my faith journeys, bumpy transitions or a smooth even run? Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea? Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy St Brendan's prayer