By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
We are drawn to water, our most ancient vehicle of transportation, our daily necessity, our place of sacred and common bath. This water poem reads like a prayer, reminding us of the way earth’s porous boundaries are so unlike our geopolitical ones, river after river running through culture after culture, carrying life and possibility.
This litany of bodies of water has some sorrow in it for us these days. We cannot travel the waterways of the Seine or Thames without weeks of preparation in quarantine. The Amazon has newly been highlighted as the center of a recent coronavirus outbreak. The oceans we once crossed with ease seem again like immense barriers to community, business, or transformational cross-cultural encounter. Yet the poem ends with hope, with a hymn of praise, with a theological conviction of possibility amid impossibility: making everything new. It echoes Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” It reiterates Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Let us pray:
Lakes and rivers.
Oceans and streams.
Springs, pools and gullies.
Arroyos, creeks, watersheds.
Pacific. Atlantic. Mediterranean.
Indian. Caribbean. China Sea.
(Lying. Dreaming on shallow shores.)
Arctic. Antarctic. Baltic.
Mississippi. Amazon. Columbia. Nile.
Thames. Sacramento. Snake (Undulant woman river.)
Seine. Rio Grande. Willamette. McKenzie. Ohio.
Hudson. Po. Rhine. Rhone.
Rain. After a lifetime of drought.
That finally cleanses the air.
The soot from our eyes.
The dingy windows of our western home.
The rooftops and branches. The wings of birds.
The new light on a slant. Pouring. Making everything new.
—Paula Gunn Allen, 1939–2008
NEW! July and August Catalog for Children and Families: In the catalog, you will find a wide array of faith formation opportunities and formats: online only, DIY (asynchronous), and hybrid in-person (at home) and online. To participate, simply send an email to Greta Connor.