Recently I shared a submarine with a Nepalese.
Actually he grew up in Nepal and now lives in Australia. We shared a submarine in Korea. So it was a South African with a Nepalese from Australia underwater in a submarine off the coast of Korea.
The experience was a microcosm of life ... all puns intended. There we sat in our safe shell of steel and glass looking at the foreign world outside. Odd fish, weird structures, and distorted landscapes drifted by as we floated along. We were warm, dry, and safe.
But my new Nepalese friend and I also had our own invisible submarines ... the bubbles of our different cultures, experiences, values, and desires. And in our short time together we were immersed in the oddities of each other's world. Yet all the time we remained in the security of our personal submarines, peering, as it were, at each other through our portholes. And then we surfaced, literally and figuratively, and each went back into the familiarities of our known environments.
Christians are like this. We arrive at church in our submarines, hatches firmly locked down as we navigate around the peculiarities of institutionalized religion, observing the odd landscapes of each other, and communicating in a language distorted by our unrealized enclosures.
If you are in a submarine and you open the hatch underwater, a lot of things happen. You get wet for one. Also, the pressure increases dramatically, fear is a reality and personal safety becomes paramount. Your options are suddenly limited, choices are few, and it's a battle to survive. Yet, opening the hatch is the ONLY way to really know the environment outside.
Imagine the immensity of Jesus's submarine experience. Coming from heaven to earth, he opened the hatch and swam outside.
Perhaps we should do the same.