This Sunday, we’re celebrating Ingathering with a special Water Ceremony that acknowledges all the different things water might symbolize in our lives. The things we thirst for. The places where we have been cared for or carried. The storms in our lives that still need healing. The people and things in our lives that sustain and nourish us.
Last Sunday, I was reminded of another aspect of water: Water doesn’t care about my plans. Water doesn’t care that I want a certain thing to happen at a certain time in a certain way. Water doesn’t change to cooperate with me.
We shifted our worship plans quickly on Sunday morning because the weather forecast said there was a very high probability of rain during the service. We’ve been having services outside as a way of gathering in person while being mindful of one another’s physical health and well-being. This week, that plan was compromised.
Even as I recall that, I can say that the weather at 1:00PM was downright sunny. There were some really beautiful times over the course of the day if we had just been flexible enough to say, “We’re going to worship at whatever time weather is most conducive.” At the time we would normally set up for worship, though, it was quite rainy at the church.
Rain didn’t care about our plans. Rain can be all at once a beautiful and wonderfully nourishing thing and a real frustration. My relationship with water means that I have to change to be in accord with the water. The water isn’t going to change to be in accord with me. It’s up to me to celebrate the beauty and nourishment. It’s up to me to decide to let go of the frustration.
Coming from a place where there were frequent hurricanes and floods, this is an aspect of water I’ve experienced first-hand many times. My relationship with water challenges me to consider what’s most important. My relationship with water challenges me to consider how I might need to change in order to be in accord with something I can’t change.
In other words, my relationship with water is a real blessing, even as I work through being annoyed by water’s unwillingness to bend to suit my wants and my plans. Water still nourishes me and cleanses me and refreshes me, even when it’s being a real pain.
What is your relationship with water? What has water taught you? Or what is like water in your life, providing something you need, while at the same time requiring you to adapt or grow? I look forward to pouring all of these experiences and lessons together in the common vessel of the community we co-create.
Rev. Randy Partain