June 29, 2014
Sermon by Pastor Tim Woodard
Genesis 1: 1-10, 20
The Sacred Gift of Water
I remember the night, one of many such nights, when I joined with my brothers and sisters, a neighbor or too as well. We would bundle up with our winter hats, gloves and scarves, then grab our ice skates and trudge down across the field, in front of our home, till we arrived at that small pond. In the light of the full moon we could see the reflection of the frozen pond as we approached. The crunch of the frozen crusty snow was beneath our feet, our noses quickly reddened as the temperature was always below 32 degrees and often times below zero on such nights. It would be a harsh adventure for anyone forgetting to bring that extra pair of wool soaks to put on before lacing up our ice skates. As cold as it was I will always cherish the joy, the excitement even of such a night. Once one arrived back home and crawled into bed, the ‘sand man’ came fast as the body warmed and drifted off to a deep peaceful sleep.
The runners, the team, began their run on what was a two and a half mile cross country trail. The trail weaved through the woods and went up and down the rolling terrain. It first headed south then east, circling around till the trail went down a large hill then sharply turned left for that home stretch at the top of the trail. Exhausted, exhilarated and overheated the whole team, ready to quit, were given only a small cup of cold, clean water. You could just begin to feel the rush of nourishing moisture as it began to replenish the water already drained from the runners sweat soaked bodies. Yet, the coach knew more water at this point was not wise. Instead he ran the team through a half hour of sprint training before sending everyone back to the showers – after completing the one mile walk back to the school. It goes without saying that a hot shower and two or three bottles of water were needed to restore balance. Thank God there was enough water for everyone!
The lake behind my grandfather’s parsonage was the central point in the small town I grew up in; it offered all types of activities like fishing: fishing from piers, via boats and in the winter it was ice fishing. Ice skating during the winter months was a major activity for many. During summer months many of us swam in the lake, especially children like me and my friends. It was also a gathering point for summer and winter campfires, and every year after the old Christmas trees were gathered there was a mid-winter bomb fire that drew large crowds of town people together. Yes, that lake, that pond actually, meant a lot to a large number of folks that lived in that small town in western Massachusetts, when I was growing up.
In like manner, the summer camps in the area relied heavily on the lakes and ponds closest to their campsites. Nothing better than some water sports to cool down summer campers, and create an atmosphere of excitement, while ensuring that the campers got their daily dose of good healthy exercise. Diving competitions, swimming races, canoeing and boating activities of all kinds, just to name a few; even an evening candle lighting service, using the water to float the lighted candles, thus creating a spirit filled evening with candle light – shimmering off the waters.
Listen to the words of a poet:
Water washes over my hand – Water slips away like sand. Water trickles down a river – Water slides just like a slither. Water is patient and knows when to wait – Water doesn’t mind if it shows up late. Water falls from the sky in tears – Water wipes away wasted years. Water can die and live again – Water can squash and pry and bend. Water has been here in the beginning, and water will be here until the end. Water is reliable – Water is a human’s friend. /Author: Secret Agent/
The theme being developed and prepared for our children – our Vacation Bible School this year – is all about water! We will be looking at “God’s Blue Earth” through the lenses of the authors Suzanne Blokland and Randy Hammer. Ultimately we will be “Teaching Kids to Celebrate the Sacred Gift of Water.” In order to accomplish our goal we will all need to begin lifting up the pure, the fully nourishing, as-well-as the life giving essence of water in every breath we take, and in as many illustrations and visual means as we can. If you want to be a part of this summer’s water adventure see either Venus or Anita to see how you might assist. Giving back, what has been so freely given to you is ‘like water’ it is something sacred; do not miss out on this opportunity!
Without water we do not exist. Without a sacred appreciation for water and the Creator… the source of life, we shall lose the gift. “On average 57-60% of our human bodies are made up of water. Think about this fact the next time you are thirsty or your dietician suggests you drink more water each day. It is estimated that 71% of the surface of the earth is made up of water and 96.5% of water is in our oceans. The rest is in rivers, lakes, streams, icecaps, glaciers and water vapor.” /Wikipedia/ Needless to say, water is life giving and critical to our existence. It is more sacred than gold or silver; more precious than the rarest of gems, including diamonds, rubies and pearls!
The waterways offer recreation of various types, as-well-as everything from sports fishing to commercial fishing: striving to supply the appetites of the world. We also rely heavily on the oceans for shipping and travel by various modes of boating; from freighters to ocean liners and luxury yachts. Let us not forget the multitude of military vessels of every type. Our military understands the tactical value of the ocean very clearly. Shipping routes are strategic to say the least. Power and wealth are facilitated based on who has control of the seas and waterways! And let us not forget the mighty force of water itself, as witnessed to at such places as Niagara Falls or Hoover Dam. Harnessed these mighty waters are capable of being tremendous sources of power and energy!
Allow the poet to fill your heart:
Water flowing in mountains streams creeks & rivers – water trickling racing to fill ponds lakes oceans – water mist breath allowing myriad life possibilities – water small droplets of life potential diverse forms.
Without water there would be no magnificent earth life swarms – vast oceans filling teeming brimming with species complexities – water vast percentages of cells that comprise all living organisms – water sustaining growth creating life web unique ecosystems.
Food all food fresh has reserves of water bound within – water is our life liquid requirement most sustaining thing – have you not heard that humans can go without food longer – than without prime life requirement fresh clean running water?
News flash without water all life would die – realize without water we could not even cry – water an important part of vibrant healthy cells – water cool sweet waits flavors community wells.
Water circulates in plants to carry distribute nutrients – water circulates in people to oxygenate blood energies – water needed by dependent earth life cycles to survive – water without elixir of life water earth will not be alive. /Author Terence G. Craddock/
The Hebrew nation of old worked to articulate their understanding of creation and in doing so they lifted up the belief that it is God that “in the Beginning” separated the waters from the heavens, thus creating the heavens and the earth. In verse two of our lesson we are told that “the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” From the earliest recorded understanding of Creation, the Hebrew Tribes, believed and understood that the ‘Living Spirit of God’ was present in the waters. They understood, at every level, that there was ‘A Power Greater Than Themselves’ and that it was a moving force in the cycle of life; a cycle so complex and so dependent on water that one can only elevate its place within our society… to the point of calling it holy and sacred!
As I was paying my lunch tab I got to talking with the owner of the restaurant. I made a remark that caused him to say, “ah a philosopher!” I responded by confessing I am a pastor and that I had been writing about water all morning. I then asked him “If you had diamonds and gold and peals, but did not have water what would you be missing?” He responded “I would not have life.” I told him he had understood my sermon. We both smiled and I bid him good day. With this in mind let us consider how we care for this sacred and precious gift. Do we shelter it and stand up for its rights as completely as we do other things that we consider valuable and important? It is an important question to consider.
In the dry season, oftentimes, we are told to conserve our water supplies. They tell us: “Only water the grass once or twice a week and only on certain days.” We are warned that over fertilization of our land can lead to pollution of our waterways and even affect our drinking supplies. There are laws regarding how to deal with our waste, septic system codes to adhere to and such.
Without water trees and plants of every type would wither and die. For you non vegetarians consider this: without plant life, nourished by water, no living creature would flourish or live. Keep that in mind as you speak lowly of beats and radishes and parsley. From the smallest to the largest, every plant, tree and bush has its purpose and place in the cycle of life.
Once again let the poet speak to your heart:
Crystal drops falling from the sky.
Bringing life to the dry,
Growing plants reach for the sky as they start growing on high – It cures your thirst and cleans the dirt.
Water does not choose who is rich or poor, hate or love.
It comes from the heavens above sent to us from God with love…
Water in a glass, water in your bath, shower, water in the sea, water in a dam, water in a river and even water in a mother’s womb.
The realization that water is important becomes disrespected.
Everyone goes on with everyday life while the water is being infected.
Water may bring life but it can also cut through cities and towns like a knife.
Tsunamis, floods it does not choose who… but when it comes you know…
Take a moment and think to yourself – What water means to your health. Say thank you and stand up for what you believe in as this is one of the only sources of life that cannot be taken away. /Author Reinette J.v Rensburg/
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the ‘sky, the solid dome,’ (firmament) of the heavens.”
Genesis 1:1-10, 20
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. 9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good…
20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.”