Falling on the stone
Splashing, breaking, dispersing in air
Weaker than stone by far but be aware that
As time goes by, the rock will wear away.
-Holly Near, "The Rock Will Wear Away"
I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart's core.
-William Butler Yeats
Essential for Life, and good water is vitally important for all life…
Water refreshes, water renews, water invigorates…
With water you may cleanse yourself, with water you may commit to something higher in you and beyond, with water you can alter, change and transform...
Welcome & Zoom Orientation
Opening Words by The Reverend Gordon Clay Bailey
All life comes from water. Life started in the ocean, where it began to take its many and amazing forms. Babies are cradled in water before they are born. Everything that lives needs water, from the smallest plants to the largest whale. From the beginning of history, humans have built their homes and their lives around water. Today we celebrate water, which connects and nourishes all life. The beginning of the church year for our congregations is called homecoming. Some congregations include the Water Communion ritual in this service. This ritual involves members and friends who have brought small amounts of water to the service, taken from special places they have been over the summer. The water might be collected from a rainstorm or is significant or symbolic in some way. They can pour the water into a large bowl and tell the congregation where it is from and the meaning it has for them. Other congregations bring into the sanctuary items of significance to their own history. The chalice, a banner or wall hanging, the covenant, hymnal, a Religious Education Book, or crayons, even a coffee urn. What ever symbolizes the regathering of the community.
Each of us comes to this sacred space today to dip into the well that nourishes our hungry spirits. Each of us comes with our own cup of goodness to pour into the well. The chalice is a vessel, a bowl, a cup. We drink together.
With this light, we place in this vessel, we also place our common hopes, our shared dreams, our mutual commitment to a world made whole. May we be strengthened in our bonds of love and peace
Every drop of water that we bring to our ceremony today has been on amazing adventures. Our water, this very water, has witnessed the birth of life as well as the death of dinosaurs, has been a part of the body of Buddha, Bach, Jesus, Michael Jordan, and the Queen of England. Each tiny molecule of water has been on its own unique journey, but today I need your help in telling the story of all water, and it sounds much better with some water sounds. I am going to ask you make some water sounds. We can create the rain storm by rubbing fingertips together, then snapping fingers or clapping lightly, then clapping harder, up to drumming hands on thighs or stomping feet. As the rain passes we will get quieter.
Most of our planet is covered by oceans, the cradle of life and water's true home. What does an ocean sound like?
Now, you can't hear it, but all of the time, every day, the sun shines on the ocean, and water evaporates; it rises into the air to become clouds. If we listened very carefully, with our tiniest inside ears, what sound do you think we would hear as the earth breathes water up into clouds?
But eventually, the clouds fill up, and the water comes down again as rain. Imagine standing on a mountain, and it begins, very gently, to drizzle, then to rain, then to pour in a full-scale mountain thunderstorm! Then, slowly, the storm moves on, the rain gets gentler, and slows, and eventually stops.
The water that falls in the mountains runs into little downhill trickles. What might that sound like? These little trickles gather into babbling brooks and streams.
The streams continue on their downward course, eventually joining into rushing rivers. As the quick rivers join into great rivers they become broader and slower.
And eventually, all water returns to the sea, the cradle of life, and water's true home.
Pastoral Reflection: Blending Our Waters
We bring our waters, which have touched the west, the north, the south and the east, which come from the sky, the surface of the earth and from deep wells and springs within the earth.
We bring water that belonged to lakes, streams, and reservoirs of fresh waters that quench our thirst.
We bring water that is a part of the great oceans and the seas that circle the globe, teeming with life, the source of all life.
We bring water to this place of meeting and sharing.
In this water there is new water, formed in the atmosphere daily, there is old water, water as old as the earth, water from which life has evolved over the eons.
This is the stream of life from which all life flows.
All people are connected by this stream, for it runs through our veins and courses through the stems and leaves of plants.
It is the symbol of the cleansing power of forgiveness and the faithful promise of healing love.
It is the symbol and the reality of the oneness that unites humankind and all life.
Today we bring water
To give back to the earth,
To mingle with all the waters of the earth, And join all living things.
Today we pour water
To honor the earth that gives us life,
To honor the community of all life, Plants, animals and people.
Today we offer thanks for the gift of water and also for the web of life we all share, near or far May our separate waters join into one sacred stream as we add our lives into the stream of living souls who live out love, work for justice and hunger for peace.
Pastoral Hymn Wade in the Water performed by Sweet Honey in The Rock
with The Reverend Gordon Clay Bailey
Listen to The Reverend's Sermon by clicking on this link,
or download it by right clicking and saving file as:
Water refreshes, water renews, water invigorates…
With water you may cleanse yourself, with water you may commit to something higher in you and beyond, with water you can alter, change and transform…
Musical Interlude with Sky
Let’s Talk About It
Reflection questions on Water
How are you disconnected, naive, complacent, or ambivalent about the human right to water?
How does your heart respond to the statistic that every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease?
Imagine a time when you have been inconvenienced by lack of access to water.
Imagine that you live like that everyday. Imagine that as your future. What happens to your dignity? Your spirit? Your basic survival?
How can you change your use of water and thereby participate in daily acts of water justice?
Closing Song #1064 Blue Boat Home
"I am but a drop of water.
Alone, I would disappear,
Dried up by the scorching sun
Or sucked up by the dry, thirsty earth.
But together we can wear out stones,
Carve out the Grand Canyon,
Make streams and rivers,
And find our way to the sea."
-Rev. Kok-Heong McNaughton (Adapted)