Sun-Earth-Moon Motion and a Parable from the Inter-tidal Zone

Most of the posts deal directly with sky observing. Occasionally I will refer to a lesson that has its basis in the effects of the relative position and motion of the sun, earth, and moon. This most exquisite dance — a precision creation by Almighty God — causes the seasons and tides along with a host of other things . So the observations of a simple paddle trip on a coastal bay, which I will explain, could not have occurred without these effects.


The picture may seem unexciting, but the details of the widespread marsh grasses in the image are a powerful reminder of repentance. The marsh roots are thick, intertwined, and embedded in a soft mixture of soil, mud, water. The motion of the water is tidal, so the roots are bathed in a mixture, then partially dried, then bathed, and so on. The expanse of the marshes and the amount of water that cycles through them causes a purification process. The marsh grasses get plenty of nutrients but they also filter the water. The Back Bay area has good water–even with the effects of man. Migrating birds come home to the region since the fish are plentiful, the marsh mud and soil have plenty of food, and the high grasses are place of safety. For the birds, it is coming home. In a sense, they are returning to where they should be. It is like repentance, which is returning to God. And the marshes are a picture of the effects of repentance, because marshes purify the water like repentance purifies the soul.  All this is a careful balance, and the magnitude of the effects is dictated by the sun-earth-moon motions.

You see, we need the same process in spiritual terms. Knowing God, who made us in His image, is not possible without returning to Him–choosing to believe in Him rather than our own ways. In a very real sense, repentance is turning home–to the place of safety and peace for the soul for which we were created. And, in that place, our Lord purifies, cleans, sets right, and settles. In function terms, it is very much like the marsh grasses that quietly work as the water goes in and out.

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

To see more images of the marsh on this paddle trip and explanations of lessons learned during the trip, go to Go to the Inspiration page, right column (story about the marsh is near the top in winter 2010).

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