My hubby and I went to the Sun & Fun Fly-in last week. While in Florida, we decided to roam around. We discovered a really nice beach called Honeymoon Island Beach. It was busy since students were on Spring Break, but not like the beaches on the opposite side of Florida. We enjoyed the water, walking on the sand, watching families build sand castles, and searching for sea shells. When we decided to head back to our car, we saw a large group gathering half way up the long stretch of sand. It was a church called Harborside Community Church! They set up a couple of sun canopies. I heard drums playing then I saw two young men dancing synced to each other's moves. As we approached the canopy, their beach area was crowded! I said to my hubby, "Maybe we should talk our pastor into doing our evening church service at a beach by the Great Lakes!" He smiled in agreement. What a wonderful way to worship the Lord and invite others to join in!
This made me think of Jesus and the Sea of Galilee. He spent quite a bit of time around water. He found Peter, James, and John,who were fishermen, at that sea and called them to be His disciples in Matthew 4:18-22. He took them out on a boat there a few times. Once He fell asleep on the boat and a storm came up. His disciples woke Him up because they were frightened. Jesus calmed the storm showing His mighty power in Matthew 8:23-27. He got out of the boat and was met by the demoniac of the Gerasenes in Mark 5:1-20. Peter tested out walking on water toward Jesus in John 6:16-24.How interesting it is that the people looked for Jesus and His disciples in the boats! Jesus was no stranger to that body of water.
What stood out to me was the very large crowd that came to hear Jesus at the beach side of Sea of Galilee in Mark 4. It was so large, Jesus got into a boat so they could see Him and hear Him teach! This was quite a "church service". The people stood at the edge of the water listening to Jesus tell parables, a common way He used to teach people about the Kingdom of God. They literally stood and listened to His teachings about the Parable of the Sower, The Lamp on a Stand, The Growing Seed, The Mustard Seed all day. He probably spoke about a lot more, but what stands out is this: He went where the people were. They were willing to gather around Him and listen to Him the whole day, standing. No folding chairs. No comfy padded pews. No air conditioning. He took church to them!
I remember on a chilly, windy June day at a beach on Lake Erie. It was an evening church service with baptism. I was in my late twenties and wanted to follow the Lord in baptism. My doubts about doing this came when I set my feet into that cold water. Goosebumps and shivers! Thankfully, I was not alone. There were several of us. It was amazing how big the crowd was that formed around our group. People at the beach were curious about what we were doing. What an amazing way to be a witness for Christ! What a way to fullfill the Great Commission! Maybe more churches should pack up and head to the beach this summer. There are scores of people there hungry to find meaning to life, but don't even know what it is they need. Maybe we are too comfy in our air conditioned church pews. It would be awesome for more churches to take the Word and praise music out to where people are! Let's be more like Jesus.
May God bless you!