by Bob Wickizer

Are We Paddling Together?
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20
22 August, 1999

If you manage to tour the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. some of the guides there will point out how the arched trusses soaring high overhead for the ceiling resemble the inside of an old wooden boat hull turned upside down. And if you visit some of the churches in New England, you will find the inverted boat architecture even more common. Especially in Colonial New England, this should not be a big surprise since much of the woodworking is the same whether we are building the roof of a church or the hull of a wooden boat. In a sense, we the people in church sail or row in our boats along the celestial waters of heaven. But on a more practical level we need to ask if we are paddling together in this boat.

Nowhere was that question more pressing to me this week than on our Junior High Raft Trip. For me the raft trip on the Nantahala River in western North Carolina provided a delightful end of summer break as well as a chance to be with seven terrific kids plus our youth director and one adult volunteer. On Tuesday we floated in oversize inner tubes down a gentle stream nearby. Tuesday evening we camped and celebrated the Eucharist together and Wednesday we boarded two seven person rafts for an eight mile adventure.

The outfitter provided us with one entertaining guide for one boat and asked for a volunteer to guide the other. Having paddled hundreds of miles in northern Canada by kayak and canoe, and since I rafted the Nantahala earlier this summer, I volunteered to guide our boat. While the other boat carried a full complement of St. Mary's youth and youth leader, our boat had two vacant positions that were filled by a couple from Ohio. A Bible college having its orientation week annual raft trip added to the number so that about a dozen rafts put into the river at the same time. At the put in site you could hear the sound of n ...

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