When I learned to swim the unpredictable waves of the Atlantic early in life, it seemed to me the ocean had a personality all its own. There was the brashness of the waves foaming and crashing on the sand and leaving a smooth carpet of glass behind it; farther out, there was a more extroverted, even violent breaking of early cuts in the sea; then there was the dangerous psyche of the undertow, lurking like a subconscious beneath the face of the vibrant current. In retrospect, there was nothing more exciting for an early swimmer than navigating all these unfathomable movements, especially when it came to plunging deep enough to sense freedom of calm waters while remaining conscious of the magnetic, dangerous pull of the undertow.
Swimming in the ocean of God’s mercy during Paschaltide underlines an exhilarating discovery of our freedom in the Risen Lord. A key phrase, I think, in the Collect for today is the opening line which recalls God as “the author of our freedom and of our salvation.” Christian life is a process of discovering with the Risen Christ that interior freedom rejoices in being “ever unharmed” by turbulence. I cringe when I hear the word “freedom” commodified, manipulated, and generally abused by just about every political or religious group on the planet. Nothing can name the liberty God has bestowed on us to take that deep dive into pleading for mercy in our prayer. Freedom means exploring the mystery that recalls the Father’s words to Christ, “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.” In baptism, all of us are divine offspring exploring the very depths of Love itself.