Following the Cross on its normal route, locals, visitors all follow through Street, alleyways, narrow paths to the hilltop place. Silence as the Cross is raised. Prayers said, songs sung but the noise and image begins to fade as I sink into my childhoods frame. Still on a hill but as I look down familiar before me two harbours that become clearer and clearer as I descend the hilltop path. Yes I remember but one harbour, now rough and ready, the other looks smart, safe, guarded. Safe guard harbour, modern, each boat smartly maintained, painted all colours of the rainbow, stirring in the noonday sun. But pause, look these aren’t fishing boats, they’ve been exchanged for yachts and what? A club house? Most sail in the safety of the harbour but none seem sure to venture through the harbour mouth to the open sea.
My eyes move to the next door neighbour – Rough & Ready harbour’. Well used. Rough people busy mending nets, boats focused to task, hearts full for the coming catch. These look like fishing boats. It seems here at Rough & Ready Harbour they still catch fish.
My view is interrupted by the noise of a Church bell then a few more, not all join the sound. Soon the lifeboat makes it sound, off to the rescue. On the sea wall the few there are joined by others and some shout, ‘ they’re coming!’.
The fishing fleet was moving towards Rough & Ready harbour. A middle-aged man, broken but with restoration flowing into his veins, raises his eyes and whispers ‘bring them home’. Others fill the sea wall and the dockside. None of the ‘bring them home’ sounds seem to raise Safe Guarded harbour. As the fleet gets nearer, I see the words on many sails, ‘For Christ & King!’ as if these boats have something that binds them together. Pride on the faces of the crew, tears in their eyes as they sour through the harbour mouth to home. Home to Rough & Ready. Joy as the people shout ‘Bring them home’.
So, Rough & Ready harbour fills with ships, the horizon littered with masts. Tied up, the crews and others, mums & dads of the eklesia unload the catch. In a strange way nurturing each box as if her in what they have caught, lies the promise of the Good Good Father. Great joy fills the harbour walls and ships because harvest is home.
Its going to be a good ‘do’ tonight!
The noise seems to occasionally interrupt safe guarded harbour and its occupants, now involved in their deck top weekly discussion groups. Ready & waiting to discuss the issues and make good culturally measured responses. The afternoons options are
No.1 – with the pandemic over 30 years ago, do we still feel we should continue wearing face masks in worship? We do acknowledge that winter flu numbers are smaller but is it time to ask the yacht club association if its time to move on?
No.2 – there have been complaints that the traditional father winter festival costume is always red. Is it now time that a winter father costume be made in all colours of the rainbow to engage more people?
This group didn’t last long because the treasurer mentioned that due to falling subscriptions from members they could no longer afford a winter fathers costume to be made each year. He recommended that they stick with the red and reuse last years.
No3 – Referring to Jesus’ words ‘It is finished’ this discussion group mulled over whether he actually said that or did he say something along the lines of ‘I am finished ‘or ‘this is hard’. If he had said ‘It is finished’ it does rather imply that Jesus did it all and this could be offensive to some.
The polite discussion of safe guard harbour was constantly interrupted by the sound of community of the Rough & Ready harbour and its harvest home song. The catch is all unloaded and the mood still busy. The crews, mums and dads of the eklesia seem now to be waiting and getting quieter. Waiting for something. Waiting while placing coins of promise into the mouths of each fish.
My eyes look up to the opposite hill over the harbour and notice three strong figures watching the scene. As it becomes clearer I see.
Oh yes, it’s the Good Good Father, the Son of Promise and the Wildfire.
The three communed, laughed and looked pleased by what they saw. Good Good Father & Promised Son then nudged Wildlfire as if to say ‘Go on, go on!’ Soon Wildfire burst into flames that exploded over the harbour sky and turned into a rustling wind that rattled as it exploded through the ships masts, making the ships bob gently together. The wind then seemed to attack the catch laid out on keyside, pushing the promise coins deep into the fish. Within seconds the fish exploded into people of every tribe, race & colour. Welcomed by the fisher folk, they took planes, boats & bicycles and ran to every corner of every place to live, telling of the Good Good Father. The colours of Grace exploded overhead and a few fireworks were provided by Wildfire. The fisher folk of Rough & Ready harbour looked satisfied and the whisper spread ‘ Good Catch’
Good Good Father, Promised Son & Wildfire joined the family of the fisher folk for a really good ‘do’ & they rested well.
The folks from safe guarded harbour seemed to miss it because they were waiting for an email from the yacht association regarding grants for father winter costumes.
The fisher folk lived in completeness though Rough & ready. They had figured it out!
The Good Good Father had done it!