Absent of their greenery, the dune fences become more visible now. They help stabilize the beach, capturing blowing grains of sand and piling them as a barrier to flood surges. Like small picket fences, they are strategically placed to align perpendicularly to the prevailing winds, maximizing their ability to retain the sand whipped by gusts of wind and waves. These dunes have been deliberately placed; they are not natural features on the landscape. If they do their job properly, they will disappear, buried under the loads of sand they have accumulated. Perhaps the church service I attend serves much the same function. It is designed to help me see myself clearly, to help me accumulate both the knowledge of my own failings and the good news of God’s grace. During the week individual bits and pieces of the service may be buried, but the work they have performed should be visible in the way I choose to live. Like the dune fences, the parts of the service work to stabilize my faith, to surround me with the extended body of Christ, to protect me when a flood surge of troubles assails me. I thank you, Dear Father, that you have given me this place of worship where I can shore up my faith and draw nearer to you. Amen.

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