By Sadie Curtin
So, here we are in the heat of summer. By now, many of us have hit up a summer concert, kicked back on a patio, spent some time poolside, finally picked up a good read, and taken that desired vacation.
After completing my first year as a high school teacher this past May, I finally understand what a gift it is to have the summer months off.
My students are a cherished gift, but so is the time to relax and recharge before the new school year takes off. One of my favorite ways to recharge is on family vacation at the Jersey Shore. My grandmother grew up on the beaches of New Jersey and my family has vacationed there ever since. Like many family vacations, it is one full of beach walks, ice cream cones, bike rides, and lots of laughs; and I am excited to be back in a week.
One of the best perks of our family vacation is being at the ocean.
My family always makes a big deal about rolling down the windows and smelling the salt air as we drive in…Dad tells us when it is the perfect time to roll them down and we all breathe it in together and share in a moment of pure gratitude that we are back. As I anticipate that moment coming soon, I grow in excitement and appreciation for such a gift. Whether it’s on a beach chair reading a book, an afternoon nap under Gramma’s umbrella, or riding waves with my brothers, I simply love being at the beach. For many, myself included, being beachside brings the utmost peace, relaxation, and enjoyment and I am beyond grateful to know that experience summer after summer.
As I read and reflect on the readings for today, I couldn’t help but notice that Jesus delivers his parable along the seashore.
The beginning of this Gospel from Matthew 13 begins by setting the scene: “On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.” I imagine a scene where many are gathered to enjoy the scenery and got the added surprise of Jesus’ presence.
I imagine Jesus on the water delivering a message to the crowd,
a message that some understand and others may not quite grasp yet, but a moving address nonetheless. I imagine Jesus’ location was intentional and purposeful. I imagine myself there simply mesmerized by the beauty of the sea and the profundity of Jesus’ words and presence. Perhaps I, too, have had this experience of Jesus delivering a message by sea, and I wonder if that is why I am so drawn to those moments at the ocean?
I believe Jesus will be at the seashore when I return.
I cannot help but believe that when I breathe in the salt air, when I share a long walk with my mom, or when I pause to just look out onto the sea that Jesus is present in all of that.
There is a reason that I leave the ocean feeling so refreshed and renewed and believe it is because of God’s presence in all of it. I am putting faith on the fact that Jesus will leave a message for me along the seashore. It may not be as explicit as his physical presence and delivery of a parable to those crowds, but I pray that my openness and desire to know Jesus more fully will be realized in those beautiful moments at the shore.
My spiritual formation thus far has helped me realize there is a message for all of us in the beautiful, created world and for many it is found along the shore.
My prayer for you, Living Person fam, is that you will experience God’s presence and hear God’s message this summer so that you will also feel refreshed and renewed to continue to be the living person God calls you to be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sadie Curtin is a theology teacher at Magnificat High School and has her Master's degree in Pastoral and Theological Studies. She is a lover of travel and new adventures, but is proud to call Cleveland home. She fills her time with laughter, singing, enjoying sweet treats, and most recently running -- all because someone asked her to share in The Living Person challenge!