Revelations in the River of Life

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

What future does the Creator God hold for Creation?

Where will this spiritual journey lead us?

When will the Kingdom of God be fully realized?

Or is it truly here and now

Because of the overwhelming

Overflowing

Power and Presence

Of the One who washes away all

Jesus Christ, Our Risen Savior and Lord

Amen

(pause)

 Where have you experienced the power,

Of the Creator’s river of life,

Manifested in ordinary waters?

In 2010 while working for my camp,

I experienced canoeing on the Rock River

My whole being shook,

While gliding upon these muddy waters,

How insignificant my physical body seemed

Against the enormity of these depths

Which are teeming full of catfish, bass and walleye

And unknown creatures.

(pause)

How we as humanity sometimes fail and miss the lesson,

The connectedness that the river has to all of our lives

Nurturing the winding wilderness around us

Cradling our boat,

Moving us,

Even though as humanity we have this misconception

That we have tamed rivers such as these

Simply because we are pushing through?

(pause)

When have we paused

By these bodies of waters surrounding us

And remembered our baptisms

Giving thanks for our lives

Born from waters?

Perhaps it’s while inhaling the majesty

As we drive over the bridge into New Orleans

These ancient waters,

Moving as one strong rhythmic beat,

A culmination of many smaller rivers

Coming together as one,

Deeper and ancient still

Waters that have witnessed to humanity’s folly

Of trying to conquer it,

Travel over it

Control it

Instead of respecting it

These waters rebel and revolt against our presence

Washing over and healing this Creation

In baptismal waters,

Washing away humanity,

Because of our arrogance,

Because of our sin against Creation

(pause)

Or even,

Going to Lake Michigan,

Sitting immersed in its waters,

How strangely healing even these waters can be

Even as it tries to heal itself

From the weight of the gravity of this life,

Which heavily leans upon it

Relies on it

To always be here for just humanity’s sake

Because we seem to always forget,

These waters-whatever their names

Poured out from the Creator God

At the beginning of LIFE

(pause)

When we cannot get close to these sacred bodies of water,

We come here, among sacred people

To be immersed in healing waters

Of Baptism

“We give you thanks

O God

For in the beginning

Your spirit moved over the waters

And by YOUR WORD

YOU

Created the World

Calling forth LIFE

In which

YOU

Took delight”

(pause)

There is comfort

When we are remembering our baptism

Those promises that we know

That we hear

Ingrained in the Gospel

“Peace I leave you,

Do not let your hearts be troubled”

God will not leave us

Or ever turn God’s Back on us

“By water and Word

You claim us as daughters and sons

Making us heirs

Of your promise

And Servants of all”

Because of the Resurrection

God promises Transformation

“Shower us with your Spirit

And renew US

Renew our lives

With your forgiveness

Grace

And Love.”

(pause)

 

But I wonder,

How hard has it been,

For our sisters and brothers in places

Such as Flint,

To remember their baptism,

When the waters have been choked of their purpose,

How hard does it become

When we are to be celebrating

Living into

Remembering our baptism

In times that it seems

This eternal River of Life

God’s River

Has dried up?

These days,

The only waters we are collectively immersed

Comes from the wave after wave

Of endless weeping

From woman after woman

Whose names are lost to us,

But could all be called Rachel

Deep in Ramallah

Deep in the ghettoes in Brazil,

Here in Chicago

In the streets of St. Louis

Because of the senselessness of lives lost

That again we, as humanity fail to realize

How connected we are,

How we all came from this River of Life

We come down to the River to pray

For Shalom

Paz

Hala

Salam

Peace

Because we have gotten to the point,

Where rivers are just that!

That the presence of God’s River

Has dissipated

From our lives,

That there is no longer reason

To celebrate

Uplift

Remember our baptism

Especially when our lakes

Streams

Rivers

Their banks and shorelines have receded,

They swell from so much toxicity

That their presence means death to the rest of Creation

(pause)

And we get the feeling now,

With the surge of hurricanes

Tsumanis

Violent thunderstorms

Floods,

That this precious Earth is finally broken

And that this Earth,

Is trying to heal

Reaching, stretching out

To be reconnected

To the River of Life-

(pause)

“Those who love me,

Will keep my Word

And the Word you hear

Will not be mine,

But from the Father,

Who sent me.”

How strange and complex it seems

These words from Jesus Christ,

But it clearly spells out

The interconnectedness of God, Our Creator

And Jesus, Our Savior,

ALL LIFE comes from God

ALL LIFE flows from God

And God’s desire,

To be where we are!

What Good News!

We hear this Good News in our Gospel-

(pause)

We hear this Good News in Revelations-

About this River of Life,

Nothing accused,

Nothing foul

Will ever be found in those waters

Because the Creator and the Lamb

Will be immersed within and throughout

Every drop of water in this new earth

Will be cleaned and whole

No death, no sickness, nothing

But to be in the presence of God our Creator

Forevermore!

That is what God truly wants,

Because we are God’s People

We are a part of Creation

We are LOVED,

Isn’t that Good News?

(pause)

So when we celebrate our Baptism,

We must be reminded

No matter where we are baptized,

Whether in the fierce waters of the Mississippi

Or Lake Michigan

Or even in the River Jordan

Or whether those waters run over

Into our baptismal font

These waters are transformed

Through the Word

Through the Holy Spirit

To Transform US

So in turn,

We begin to Transform this WORLD

It is because of our Baptism

We are called to be witnesses

Just like Lydia,

Martha

Mary

Just like those disciples,

Who had seen the Lord

Just like those unnamed,

But whose testimonies and stories

Are here in this sacred text

Just like those faithful who have gone

Before us

To dance, to swim, to be immersed

In that River of Life

Who are waiting for us,

To cross those banks

Who await the day,

When that River of Life will swell

And come rushing into this life,

Where Jesus Christ will once more

Shatter suffering, pain

Eliminate forever the darkness that crowds out the LIGHT

And Where the Creator God will gather us

By the River

To Live with US

In the Peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thanks Be to God

 

 

 

 

 

 

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