What a big small world it is

Daren Blanck

My wife, Michelle, and I just returned from a visit to Canada’s Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The weather was awesome and the scenery was stunning.

New Brunswick is probably best known for the Bay of Fundy, which separates it from neighboring Nova Scotia. The tides on the Bay of Fundy are something to see. The difference between high tide and low tide can be as great as 48 feet. Beaches that stretch for miles at low tide disappear at high tide.We saw boats high and dry in channels that were empty save the trickle of a small stream.

The Hopewell Rocks are famous as flowerpot formations, where the softer sedimentary layers at the base of the formations are eroding faster than the harder top layers, creating a curious “flower pot” appearance at low tide when you can walk around their bases. At high tide kayakers paddle around their tops where spruce and fir grow.

Prince Edward Island (PEI) offered stunning views of the Northumberland Strait, which is crossed by the longest bridge in Canada and one of the longest in the world, and equally stunning views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where all of Lake Superior’s water will eventually empty into the Atlantic. PEI is also the birthplace and longtime home of writer L.M. Montgomery whose character, the spunky, red-headed Anne of Green Gables, is loved around the world.

Anne (with an “e”) says in one of Montgomery’s stories, “What a big small world it is.” We found Anne’s insight to be true over and over again. The world is so full of wonder yet so wonderfully connected. In Sussex, New Brunswick we met one young lady who’d recently returned from Skopje, Macedonia where we lived for two years. While in Macedonia she worked with a fellow I coached baseball with! In Saint John, New Brunswick we ordered Korean food from a lady who grew up in the same apartment complex we lived in in Suwon, South Korea. What a small world!

The psalmist writes “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness there of.” Yet Jesus tells his hearers that our Heavenly Father cares for each of us, that the very hairs of our heads are numbered. I think walking humbly with God means holding on to these two truths at the same time. Here on the North Shore or in the BWCA it’s easy to think that we have a corner on God’s creative beauty, but there are so many beautiful places in His creation that it takes one’s breath away. Our job is to safeguard our beautiful place and to care for others as well. What a big world!

It’s also easy to think when we face hardship that we have to slug it out on our own, that our issues are just so different from everyone else’s. But that’s not true either. Anne’s life on an island in eastern Canada wasn’t so different living over 100 years ago than my daughter Sophia’s is today. What a small world. We are all connected just as Anne is to Sophia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence is to Lake Superior.

As our plane flew west toward the big lake and home I looked out at the lakes, streams, fields and woodlands of eastern Canada and thought, “What a big small world it is.”

Each month a member of the Cook County Ministerium will offer Spiritual Reflections. This week our contributor is Daren Blanck, pastor of Zoar Church in Tofte, a former Wilderness Canoe Base guide/ counselor, and a student of Beyond the River Academy, a ministry program of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

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