Waterfall at Latgawa
I am in the midst of sharing some reflections about important elements to our experiences at our camps and retreat center. This reflection on water is the second installment of a list that includes the physical elements of: land, water, sky and fire. This series will be followed by elements related to the human experience of being in Christian community in the setting of our camps and retreat center.
In the Pacific Northwest water plays in important role in our lives. We measure how much rain falls on two different calendars! Here, we keep an eye on water flow rates in the rivers and we look for water content in the snowpack in the mountains. Humans can survive a lot longer without food than we can without water (3 days according to items that I have read). The bottom line is that we know our very existence depends upon water.
Because we know that water is so vital to our survival, research shows that we are more at ease psychologically when we know that there is a water source nearby. That is why I suspect that the human race has camped and formed communities beside water (ocean, lake, pond, rivers and creeks).
Personally, I have a love and fear of water. I learned to swim at a young age, canoed with my family, worked as a waterfront director and pool manager, built a kayak, and led kayak camps. I love being around water and appreciate its life-giving nature. And I understand the destruction water can cause. This year we saw it in Houston, the rest of the Southeast, and across the Caribbean. Water can just as easily sustain life as it can take life, hence my fear.
This two-fold element of water is talked about in our baptismal ritual: through our baptism we die and rise with Christ. We are reminded that we can be transformed and sustained through water. Our baptismal waters remind us to whom we belong and that they are not lucky charms shielding us from pain and grief. So, we join communities of faith and participate in camps, retreats, worship, and other communal acts in order that we might take action and that we might experience the joy and courage of living out our baptism.
All of our sites have bodies of water nearby: ocean, lake, river, or creek. I invite you to come to these waters and “drink” of them that your soul may be restored, and to be reminded of the tremendous power of water in your life. As you rest beside these waters may you be sustained and encouraged to live fully into your baptismal promises with grace.
See you by the water’s edge,