Some of my favorite childhood memories are going to the beach with my family.
I grew up in Southern California in the San Fernando Valley, about 30 miles from Zuma Beach in Malibu.
On Sunday afternoon, we packed our cooler with cans of Shasta sodas, tuna and / or egg salad sandwiches, grapes, and a pink baking box of cookies from our grandmother’s bakery in Los Angeles, stacked the car and drove to our happy place.
Zuma Beach had everything a kid could want: swings, sand, big ocean waves, and small sand crabs that we would catch with cups when the waves came and the crabs dug into the wet sand.
I didn’t like the algae and I got sucked into a couple of times which is terrifying because it pulls you away from the bank, but I almost forgot about that.
If I want to – have to – calm down, when life overwhelms me, the surf attracts me, if only in my imagination and my memories.
There is something about the beach, the hot sand, the salty breeze, the sun that burns your skin, the rhythmic noise and cadence of the surf, even the screeching of seagulls fighting over discarded french fries or potato chips.
It’s the colors, the calming blues and grays of the sky and the water, and the diamond-like sparkle of the sun shining on the sea.
This morning I came across a verse from the Bible that caught my attention: “From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16).
It is written about Jesus, God in human flesh, who came to earth to live with us and gave “grace for grace” to his people.
As I thought about that phrase, grace upon grace, I was thinking of the steady, uninterrupted waves of the ocean or gulf water.
A Bible commentator, FF Bruce, said that followers of Christ “draw grace after grace from the ocean of diving abundance, one wave of grace constantly being replaced by a new one without limit.”
Whatever we go through, whatever trial or effort, temptation, disappointment, catastrophe or hardship we go through, God’s unlimited, infinite grace is always there and constantly restoring us.
It is like the hymn that reads: “O the deep, deep love of Jesus. Wide, immeasurable, limitless, free, rolls like a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me. Below me, around me, is the flow of your love … “
The third verse says: “O the deep, deep love of Jesus! The love of all loves is the best; it is a sea of blessings, it is a sweet haven of calm.”
Just as the ebb and flow of the surf never misses a beat, so also the deep, deep love of Jesus never ceases to flood our tired, tired souls.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so done with COVID. I am so over the political divide in this country. I’m through hurricane season and social media sniper and everything else wrong with this world.
But there is grace after grace for the followers of Jesus and endless treasures from his abundance that we have all received.
There is a peace that it never runs out of, graces that are new every morning, rest for our body, mind and soul, and a love for every love for the best.