Monday, August 27, 2007

Glaciers and Icebergs

Over the past few days I've been reading and thinking about glaciers and icebergs. I've never actually seen either, but I am just finishing a book by Eugene Peterson called Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places and during the closing pages of the book, Peterson talks about an article he read about glaciers and the environment.

So I decided to go online and read a bit about glaciers. A glacier is a river made of solid ice. It is formed as snow slowly accumulates over time. A little bit, day by day. Patiently, the snow falls. Maybe one day it is two or three inches. Another day is a dusting. And yet another day is two feet. Slowly, the sheer mass of snow causes it to compress and solidify. It becomes solid ice, and over time, the ice gets thicker and thicker. One day the ice is 50 feet thick. And then, it begins to move. Gravity begins to pull this huge mass along as it seeks to find sea level. Nothing can stop it or get in its way. In Peterson's words it is the most powerful force on earth. Glacial ice is the largest source of freshwater on the planet too by the way.

And when a glacier gets to the ocean, bits of the glacier break off and become icebergs. Icebergs are interesting because you only see the "tip of the iceberg". 90% of an iceberg lies beneath the surface of the water. So icebergs have all of this potential that no one really sees, and yet they are extremely massive and powerful.

So I was thinking about icebergs and glaciers, and then I started thinking about us. It's really easy for us to get impatient. As I think about the nearness of the opening of our café, sozo, I get really excited about it, but I also would love for everything to be in place--right now. That's not how glaciers work though. Glaciers are part of a patient process--and once they get started, they are unstoppable. I think that's what the community of faith should look like, a patiently flowing ice river that changes the landscape. My buddy Sam told me that Glaciers carve a U shape out of the valleys where they flow. Wouldn't it be something if God took all of that mass of the faith community, and all of the mass of a project like sozo, and used things like that to begin a transformation of the whole community for the better? Or what about your community--what would it look like there for that kind of transformation to take place? Are you willing to wait for it and work for it?

And more specifically, what about you? I was thinking that as individuals, we are often like icebergs. We are mostly submerged with about ten percent of us available for the world to see. Yet we have all of this potential that's hidden below the surface. What if you began to live out your potential and live out your calling in such a way that the world around you began to take notice? Just some thoughts I've had in recent days about water, and us.

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