Mary was sitting beside Monterey Bay, reading Isaiah, when the angel approached. “Fear not!” he said, “Here’s a flower and some good news. See, your book is open to Isaiah 7, and yes, you are the one to have the baby Immanuel, God with us.”
This “Monterey Bay Mary” window shines over the altar at St. Mary’s by the Sea Episcopal church in Pacific Grove, right across the street from the Disciples of Christ church where we have our Blue Theology Mission Station (ocean retreats and youth mission trips.) Since both congregations love Jesus and love the ocean, we are great friends and colleagues.
Actually, we should probably give St. Mary’s credit for being the earlier adopter of Blue Theology. Over 125 years ago, when the women who founded this church commissioned San Francisco Arts and Crafts genius Bruce Porter to design this window, they asked him to feature local plants (cypress tree and wild iris) and to place Mary overlooking the bay, which is just a block from the church. (Porter had already designed the gardens at Filoli on the SF Peninsula and the windows at SF’s Swedenborgian church.) They told Porter, “Jesus loved walking by the sea, and we figure his mother did too.”
This past week hundreds of us gathered in this historic 1880’s clear-heart redwood church for the memorial service of its beloved rector emeritus Dwight Edwards. Staring at that window throughout the service, I heard the angel saying to me, and to all of us, “Fear not. Sit by the sea. Greet any angel who stops by. Let God enter in. Welcome the incarnation. May God be born in you today.”
Thanks Bruce, Dwight, Mary, Gabriel for calling us to sit by the sea and welcome in your watery Word.
(We are booking Blue Theology retreats and youth mission trips for 2017. We’ll show you the window as well as the bay. Bluetheology.com. I post these reflections every Wednesday morning, here and on Facebook, on my page and at Blue Theology Mission Station.)