A week ago today I wrote from a boat cruising Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage with 34 other Sacred Harp singers. When we reached Petersburg, a small town on Mitkof Island, I made my way to a computer in the public library and started typing my blog. Unfortunately, I timed out of my 30 minute allotment and everything I’d typed disappeared. So today I will try to recapture my musing from last week.
But first, perhaps a bit of background would be helpful. Our friend Kari Lundgren from Sitka had been planning this Sacred Harp cruise for almost a year. While it sounded wonderful, we had concluded that it was out of our reach. Three days before the ship was due to sail, Kari called with the news that another couple had experienced a medical emergency and had to cancel. They had been reimbursed by trip insurance, so Kari was offering us their space. What a gift. We managed to untangle ourselves from commitments made for the week, buy plane tickets to Juneau, and we were on our way.
On the second full day of the trip we headed into Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, entering a narrow fjord leading to South Sawyer Glacier. On each side loomed giant granite walls scoured by the retreating glacier. As the captain maneuvered among the bergy bits (small chunks of floating ice from the glacier) we were all out on the deck watching birds and sea mammals along the way.
As we moved further into the fjord and approached the first of several big bends, we fell into an excited silence waiting to see what would be around that bend. Would we get to see the glacier? We didn’t sing, we didn’t talk. It was the closest thing to worship I experienced on the trip. We kept going, bend after bend, until the way was clogged by larger chunks of ice, but we did get a view of the glacier and came away feeling satisfied.
Later, in musing about the experience, I wondered what it would be like if we approached our meetings for worship with that same sense of excited anticipation. What if we truly waited expectantly for what might be revealed?