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Sinking into quicksand is not a pleasant experience. As part of fieldwork while at university we used to play around in small boats in the Severn Estuary. On one occasion we landed on an extensive sandbank at low tide with the aim of conducting research into mega-ripples on what had been the seabed just a few hours earlier. One of the girls only managed a few steps from the boat before she started to sink. She cried out in panic and as the nearest person to her I went to the rescue. But I found myself sinking too. I immediately lay as flat as I could and managed to extricate both of us from the quicksand as others reached out to help us to safety and solid sand.

The words to the David Bowie song ‘Quicksand’ include the line ‘I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought, and I ain’t got the power anymore.’ The song seems to attempt to make sense out of life, but concludes that ‘knowledge comes in death’s release.’ I guess that without the gift of faith life could be as frightening as sinking into quicksand. Trapped. Not knowing how to escape, or if escape is possible. But if the answer only comes with death what chance does anyone have? We need the knowledge in life, not afterwards.

Then I remember Peter who had the faith to step out of the boat while the rest of the team cowered in fear. But the moment he took his eyes off Jesus the faith went and Peter began to sink. It wasn’t quicksand but the end result would have been the same. To be rescued we have to cry out for help. And when we call He is there. Always. He is the Answer.

The words ‘divine symmetry’ appear in the Bowie song. There is no divine symmetry. You are either in or out. Sinking in the quicksand. Drowning in Galilee. Or calling out for help and taking the hand that is offered.

Whatever you make of the words it is a great song. It challenges me.

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