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From Our Pastor
I was driving down Harrison St. toward Washington on my way back to the office from a visit this week. I was a block or so from Washington and I noticed something flashing in the distance, it was beautiful. As I got closer I realized it was the sun reflecting off the river. It looked like flashing strings of lights floating peacefully in the air from a distance. I thought, I would really like to park the car and walk down to the river and just sit and watch this beautiful sight. It would have been so restful and relaxing to sit and be carried away in a nice long day dream while watching the river move along and the sun reflect off of it like diamonds. I love the water, for me being near or on the water is a vacation even if it’s only for a few minutes. I love walking on the beach and hearing the waves roll in and seeing the white caps as the waves break on the shore. Water can provide us with amazing relaxation. It can also provide us with refreshment and quench our thirst. We need it for life.
Tonight, I came home down Carpenter and the street we use to get home was flooded; the water was up to the sidewalk on both sides of the street and I decided it was best to go to the next street and go home a different way. I am learning that this could be any one of several streets in Titusville. As I watched the news, I saw flooding in Hawaii resulting from an apparently uncommon cyclone (a hurricane in the Pacific) that is near Hawaii. Those images reminded me of the pictures of the damage water has done in our own area, boats carried on shore and left by the retreating water, the pictures of roofs destroyed by hurricanes, and the flooding that has caused so many to lose their homes. Water is necessary for our life and can at the same time threaten and destroy our lives. Water is both a blessing and curse, these concepts are both found in scripture in its words regarding water.
Actually, our bodies are made up of about sixty percent water. Where would we be without water. The first chapter of Genesis gives us a picture of a water world. Genesis 1:2 tells us “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (NIV) Yet, later in Genesis we are told of the flood and the destruction of all of humankind with the exception of those of Noah’s family in the Ark. Water is a symbol both of creation and of destruction, a force of chaos and of deliverance. Even the water used in baptism is understood as death and rebirth. We certainly have a strange relationship with water don’t we? But aren’t there many things in life that take on the same meanings? In one context they are used for good and positive things and in another they become the means of our destruction. We, as the people called Methodists, have to be careful of all-or-nothing thinking because most of our world doesn’t work in that sense. If we say hurricanes and floods are bad and thus do everything we can to keep water away from us, we then have to face thirst and death; on the other hand, if we say water is necessary for life and choose not to try in any way to control its presence we are leaving ourselves open to death by the destruction it causes. We believe that certain drugs are good when used to control pain but are bad when we become addicted to them. There are concepts we have to learn to hold in tension and realize that these things are not always bad or always good...they just always are. We learn to control the way we use them and the way we deal with them, and we learn to appreciate the good qualities and respect the bad consequences that can arise from misuse or over abundance of the things. As Wesleyan Christians, we learn that we must consider deeply what we believe.
As for me, I believe I will take some time to go to the river or the beach and watch the beautiful waves and white caps before they become a hurricane and have some peace before the storm.