Last week we were in Florida. Every year when we make our annual jaunt to the Gulf of Mexico I realize that I could very easily become a beach bum. I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves crashing. I love being in the water even with the occasional seaweed wrapping around my legs. Give me a sunny day on the shore with a Corona® or a margarita and a beach chair and I could be happy for hours (or at least until the drinks run dry or the sun goes down).
I think the best thing about being on the beach is that no one seems to care about how you look; if you’re on time; if you’re rich or poor; if you’re well-read; if you’re young or old; if you’re fit or a little flabby. Of course when you are on the beach you will see some beautiful beach bodies and some hideous creatures, too. I’d like to think that I fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. But it doesn’t matter. Anything goes. The beach is the great equalizer. If you want to run along the shore that’s fine. If you want to lay on a blanket or a lounge chair all day that’s fine, too. If you want to build sand castles or search for sea shells or watch for dolphin sightings, or ride the waves on your boogie board, or just feel the sand between your toes, no one cares. No one judges what you do or don’t do.
Everyone seems to accept you as you are. And no one seems to be bothered to follow anyone else’s idea of what beach time should be. No schools. No rules. No fools. Just be yourself. And be accepted. The beach has room for all.
I’d like to think our church could be like the beach: Room for all. No need for everyone to be the same. Or have the same expectations of holiness. I believe that like the beach, our Eucharist is the great equalizer. We all come to the table from different places but we share in the love of Christ. God doesn’t judge us on our appearance or actions (or inactions) but what is in our hearts.
Like the beach, the church should have room for us all. And a little sunshine wouldn’t hurt once in a while.