Waves

May be an image of bird, nature, body of water and sky

I walked by the sea this morning. It’s windy and the browny-grey sea is rougher, with bigger waves.

At school I learnt about sound waves and light waves. The news tells me of a crime wave; the weather forecast predicts a heat wave (but not today!!).

We wave to others in recognition and greeting – to say hello or goodbye. The ancient Jewish Law describes ‘Wave Offerings’ as a way of presenting sacrifices God.

My brothers and I were a disappointment to Mum. We all had straight hair! Mum had her hair ‘permed’; sadly the ‘permanent’ wave was never permanent. She hoped that we would marry girls who would give her wavy-haired grandchildren.

In ancient mythological worlds the seas and waves are often frightening, controlled by angry sea gods, beyond man’s power…

…Odysseus is confronted by Scylla, the 6-headed monster; he then has to escape Charybdis who threatens to destroy the ship and drown all in swirling whirlpool waves.

…In the Jonah story he’s thrown into the angry waves… out of the sailor’s control – but they’re controlled by Jonah’s God.

Jesus sleeps through a storm. Woken by anxious disciples he brings calm. They say, ‘Even the winds and the waves obey him…’

One or two friends talk of their palliative care and waving their last goodbye. I was brought up to believe that heaven was ‘above the sky’. It was only a picture.

I now like the picture of heaven being beyond the waves. Some Christian traditions talk about ‘crossing the final river’. Irish mythology talks of the ‘Imramma’, a sacred sea voyage to the Otherworld islands, that lie ‘beyond the ninth wave’.

I hope I won’t wave my last goodbye for a while yet. In the meantime I trust the God who controls the wind and waves… and I like the picture of the father of the prodigal son who welcomed his son home not with a wave but with a hug and a kiss.

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