As soon as our ship left the port, a junior steward appeared and diligently handed out paper bags to every single passenger on board. When we left the relatively calm waters of the fjord Eyjafjörđur, it became clear why. Our reasonably sized ferry was rocking up and down and from side to side. Sea water was splashing and pooling on all three open decks and spray driven by the wind was shooting above the ship from bow to stern. Soon almost all the passengers were seasick.
For those few of us who were not sick even standing upright was demanding and getting around became a quite strenuous exercise. It was the longest three-hour ride I have ever made. And mind you, this was what local seamen call nothing more than “choppy sea”. The weather more or less normal for the end of summer (temperature in the 40s, low clouds, some drizzle, some rain with a little bit of melting sleet). Our short sail through the coastal Arctic Ocean made me acutely aware and deeply respectful of the elemental nature and almost mythic power of waters.
These same choppy waters rewarded us with sightings of a whale, some dolphins and a number of seabirds. I could not take a single picture, I needed both my hands to keep steady. But on the island I was able to photograph (in short window between sleet showers) Atlantic Puffins just before their migration south. The very same waters can be life threatening and life giving, harming and balmy, threatening and healing.
This Sunday in worship we will attempt to reconnect our faith with waters, a tamed but ultimately unbridled elemental force of God’s creation. This reconnecting can have a cleansing and healing power for us and our faith. Come to sing with us the Song of Waters.