We continue our summer worship series, Notice Grace All Summer, with reflection on swimming lessons this Sunday and will root our time together in Psalm 82. The Psalmist begins with God arriving at the “council of the Gods”. This concept of a “council of the Gods” is common in both the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. God arrives to the divine council and announces the Gods have ruled unjustly because they have failed to recognize the needs of the weakest (i.e. orphans and widows). Our tendency to fail in attending to the needs of the weakest is timeless. God and Jesus remind us that when the needy are neglected and oppressed, then our entire society is threatened.
We will hold this image in relation to swimming. Children and adults learning to swim are incredibly vulnerable. Swim teachers, lifeguards, coaches and “good neighbors” must watch over them in love with steadfast intention and diligence.
Take time to recall how you learned to swim. Have you ever taught another to swim?
Who watched over you as you struck out on your own?
Unfortunately, we often fail to recognize the needs of people who are truly in danger. Mario Vittone (see Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning) writes, “Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.”