Water of Life - Reflections 4-27-16

 Texts for Sunday May 1, 2016
 Sixth Sunday of Easter
Gloria Dei group at the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering

 Acts 16:9-15
 Psalm 67
 Revelation 21:10,      22-22:5
 John 14:23-29

I just drove through one of those “garden variety” Iowa rainstorms – an “April shower” that will bring a “May flower” (no joke about the pilgrims please).  Not quite a “frog strangler” nor a “gully washer”, but hard enough to cause ponding in the streets. A new setting on my phone apparently needs to warn me about lightning strikes nearby, so it was pinging as I drove along…. No distraction there…

This rainstorm reminded me of how lucky we are to live here where there is plenty of rain to grow all our green goodness, but not too much rain most of the time. Around here, it is easy to take water for granted. Having lived through the 1993 and the 2008 floods, I know what too much looks like. As I listen to the news about Houston, I can imagine the patience and endurance the residents are going to need to get through their historic flooding. 

Then there is California whose drought has been only slightly broken with this winter’s El NiƱo; they still have years of recovery ahead. 

And there is Flint, Michigan with contaminated drinking water. Or the high nutrient pollution in our heartland rivers. 

About one out of every four people worldwide drink from contaminated water sources. Unsafe water leads to illnesses that claim the lives of 840,000 people each year, almost half of whom are children under the age of 5. By 2030 almost half of the world will live under conditions of “high water stress”.

Fresh, safe water is a precious resource. Last week’s Revelation text ended with this promise from God “To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life”. I know -  don’t get too literal with Revelation - BUT I do believe that clean, safe water is a part of God’s dream for humanity. 

The glorious city described in the text for this Sunday (where God lives with humanity) has a “bright as crystal” river flowing right down the center of the city…. water is scarce no more. Plus, this river of the water of life will water the tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. 

Given the “already, not yet” of God’s future, we can consider ourselves called to move forward on God’s dream - now. In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther discussed that when we pray “your will be done on earth” we ask that we become the agents of God’s will with it coming about in us and among us.  God’s work. Our hands.

 Right now, we can pay attention to those places where water is scarce, either because of drought or contamination. We can pay attention to those resources and organizations out there that address water issues - building wells, providing filters, conserving what is here, providing clean up from floods. We can pay attention to ways we can help.

We can make God’s dream of the crystal clear river and the healing of the nations happen in and among us - right now.

What experiences have you had with water? 
Flood? Thirst? Drought? Pollution?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below (all the way down past the related posts).

Links for more ideas:
Conservation in your home

ELCA Walk for Water

Water to Thrive

Special water issue of National Geographic magazine

Check out the G.I.F.T. post for this Sunday, May 1, for more ways to reflect on these texts. 

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245