Don’t forget – on Sunday May 27th we move to the Summer Liturgy schedule. The Sunday morning worship times are 8:15 AM and 10:00 AM. This is the schedule through Labor Day. See you in church!
There is an old story that claims years ago a ship on theAtlanticwas in distress because its supply of fresh water had run out. It had sailed for nearly three months along the coast of NorthAmerica, through the Gulf of Mexico and now was several nautical miles off theshoreofBrazil. The ship was floating listlessly on a completely still sea. The crew was near starvation but even worse, they had been floating without fresh water for nearly two days. You can live a long time without food, but water of course is a necessity. The crew faced a horrible death from the thirst, and the great irony was there was water all around – alas – only sea water all around them.
When hope was almost gone, they sighted a small fishing vessel powered by oars approaching them. At once they hoisted distress signals. But the only answer they got was dip it up. What heartless mockery, they thought to themselves. Dip it up? To dip up buckets of salt water! They again began to despair. A second time they signaled to the smaller fishing vessel and again came back the answer – dip it up! They signaled one final time, but received the same answer.
Finally in despair, they lowered a bucket. Imagine their amazement and joy when it turned out to be fresh, living water! They didn’t know it, but they were less than two miles out from the mouth of the mighty Amazon River, whose fresh water flows far out to the sea. All they had to do was reach out and dip it up and they would live!
I believe this is a terrific metaphor for our lives. So often we feel like we are floating through life listlessly and dying – and yet we are surrounded by living water. All we need do is dip it up! There are so many times when people share with me their experiences of hopelessness. They feel that their prayers are unanswered and life isn’t turning out the way they had dreamed. In moments like this I wonder if the scriptures aren’t calling them to stop for a moment and breathe in and out –simply to breathe in and out and feel the breath of life filling them up. The Spirit of God is all around us and all we need do is dip it up. So too, there are people who share with me their feelings of loneliness and solitude. They walk through life often times feeling as if they are all alone. In moments like this I wonder if the scriptures aren’t calling them to look – really look – at all the people who pass by them on the street; who serve them at the grocery store; who care for them at the doctor’s office. There are lonely people all around us – so many who are just waiting to be seen and spoken to, acknowledged and affirmed. The Spirit of God is all around us and all we need do is dip it up. And every day there are folks who share with me their physical trials. They are absorbed in their real pain, their death and their dying. And while these feelings are valid, I wonder if the scriptures don’t call us to remember that every moment is a gift. That we are not dead yet! Nature reminds us that we live in a springtime world of rebirth and the Spirit of God – the Spirit of Life is all around us and all we need do is dip it up.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning in one of her great poems has affirmed it well:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees takes off his shoes.
Browning is simply proclaiming what Jesus proclaimed to his friends, the Kingdom of God is within you. And this then is the challenge of Pentecost. We must begin searching for the Spirit of God who is promised to be with us always . Pentecost reminds us that earth is crammed with heaven, that God is walking with us at this very moment, that the Spirit of God surrounds us and all we have to do is dip it up. And so this summer when you are feeling listless and dying – breathe in the breath of life. This year when you are feeling lonely or abandoned – look into the eyes of another and reach out. In the months ahead when you are feeling pain or your mortality – look around at a world being reborn and remember you are not dead yet. The Spirit of God is everywhere – dip it up!