By Rev. Kurt Condra
Christmas morning...after breakfast, after gifts...the family gazed out lakefront windows admiring the placid, frigid water ringed with a thin sheet of ice, as though the shore had been traced by a celestial silver high-lighter. "Polar Plunge!" someone yelled, presumably inspired by the flock of Canadian geese sticking their tails up in the unfrozen shallows.
Not so long ago, a Christmas Day plunge into Marble Lake meant breaking through half a foot of ice. With no open water, these geese would have continued their migration considerably south of Branch County, Michigan. Global warming? Depends if you believe the science or not.
Back to the polar plunge: Some might think it frivolous, maybe even crazy. But what if the sense of triumph experienced by the three hardy men who met the elements bare-skinned is the very energy necessary for triumphing over environmental calamity? What if the camaraderie they exuded is a luminous thread bridging the chasm between earthly catastrophe and divine solution?
Whatever the earthly cause, there is a Source Cause, an immense power that shapes and animates every event, process and phenomena in every realm of existence. And here's what's more shocking than an icy cold December dip: We are that energy. Every choice we make, every thought we entertain, every emotion we indulge, every action we take, is inextricably linked to all that is through what progressive theologians have called "The Luminous Web." I believe as we become increasingly more conscious of how we employ luminous energy, our contribution to it is increasingly beneficent.
"For this very reason," 2 Peter 1:5-8 reads, "make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful."