I came across a cool story recently, told in a short documentary that has been making its rounds through social media, called Duct Tape Surfing. It’s an inspiring tale of courage and partnership that provides many lessons for the follower of Christ.
The main character in the real-life drama is Pascale Honore, a 50-year old Australian woman who has been bound to a wheelchair since a 1995 car accident left her a paraplegic. She always enjoyed watching her sons surf, and had talked about wishing that she could join her boys in the waves, except for her immobility. One day, one of her son’s friends who was a strong and skilled surfer, almost jokingly suggested that he could duct tape her to his back and surf. Soon, the joke turned to reality when, armed with several rolls of tape, they set out to test their plan.
The documentary shows the result–an amazing story of how a man literally carries an 88-pound woman taped to his body, while he surfs, and how a woman’s life is transformed by the experience.
The story provides a rich spiritual metaphor, as well, for life in the body of Christ. It illustrates the apostle Paul’s words from his letter to the Galatians to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” though I doubt he had duct tape in mind. Still, there’s something about having to hoist someone’s weight onto your own and carry her along, even while you’re trying to navigate the rough surf of life. It is usually life-altering, both for the surfer and the one graciously along for the ride. And it looks an awful lot like what Jesus did for us on the cross, when he took on our sin in a sacrificial act of love.
Sadly, so few people understand that’s what Biblical Christianity looks like. We see ourselves as a collection of self-sufficient individuals, riding the waves, trying to make sure we don’t get in anyone else’s way, when in fact we are all in this thing together, partners on the surf. Some of us are immobilized by one thing, others by another, but we are all broken and needy. Just like a Duct Tape surfer.
I’m sure glad to be partnering with each of you in this “thing” we call The Church at Shelby Crossings. What an honor it is to be your pastor, and I can’t wait to see you on Sunday.