Paddle-Out: California/surfing Funeral
The dad of a young man who atends MCC died last week at the premature age of 59. Above all things, he was known as a surfer who made a daily trek to this well known surfing beach called Rincon. So a service was held for him at the park above the beach. What I noticed first arriving at the park was the parking lot of surf-boards stacked against a wall.
A local pastor, Britt Merrick, led a worship band and prayed eloquently for his community. It was an inspiring witness to incarnational ministry; genuine to those who gathered, but clearly directed at honoring Christ and giving witness to the message of salvation. Then, after a long period of testimonies and witnesses, surfers were invited to grab their boards and head to the beach for the paddle-out.
You can see the number of surfers who stood in front of their boards like and honor guard for one of their fallen ones. Flowers were handed out to the surfers (who tucked them into the necks of their wetsuits). And slowly they walked down the beach and out into the waves.
The dilemma of using my iphone camera is that it does not do long-distance pics well, but the dark spot in the center is the gathered community of surfers in a circle holding hands. I'm not sure what was said, but soon every surfer began splashing into the center of the circle. It was as liturgically appropriate as it could be from my vantage point. What a privilege!
Peace to the memory of Dean Jensen