Reverend Furrer is joined by members of the ESUC staff welcoming all back into our circle of love and concern by bringing a vial of water symbolizing your hopes for the coming year.
Water Is Life
Just to think about water is to marvel at its amazing, life-giving qualities. And how essential water is to everything that is alive and that we love.
Water surrounds us. Viewed from high above the Marquesas Islands in the mid-Pacific Ocean, the globe is almost entirely blue. Earth’s surface is almost ¾ water. The Pacific alone is larger in area than all the land on earth. We call the different oceans by various names, but they’re all linked and water circulates between them. The continents are merely islands in one vast ocean.
Water sustains us. Our bodies, by weight, are 70% water and each of us consume about five pounds of water daily in one form or another. A healthy adult can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. A prop to individual lives, water is also the lifeblood of society. Without ample water there could be no farming. There would be little industry or commerce.
Water restores us. To sit by its edge can do wonders to calm a haggared or weary soul. As the essence of life, water is a favorite image for Tao. In the words of Chuang-tzu (369?-286? BCE)
When water is still, it is like a mirror, reflecting the beard and the eyebrows. It gives the accuracy of the water-level, and the philosopher makes it his model. And if water thus derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind? The mind of the Sage being in repose becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation. (#13)
Powerful insights or no, just sitting by the water’s edge is peaceful and serene. Anyway, it sure works for me.
Water connects us. The semi-legendary Lao-tzu (604-531 BCE) explains:
The highest good is like water,
Is that it nourishes everything without striving.
It occupies the place which all people think of as low (#8).
Gliding effortlessly, gathering modestly into one,
Like a river going down the valley to the ocean (#32).
Just as gravity draws all water down to the sea, natural inclinations draw people together to celebrate, share, and find ways to be creative. Which is what we’re doing here at East Shore Church. We’re doing it virtually right now, but we’re doing it with all the love and care and good energy we can muster.
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Water protects us, too, especially in the increasingly fire-prone rapidly warming world of today. But the growing conflagration at every hand requires a fire brigade like none we have mustered in days gone by. While COVID requires that we follow careful protocols, the epidemiological crisis only makes it clearer than ever that there’s a climate crisis of which coronavirus is a deadly symptom. The pandemic is a wake-up call. Hello! These fires are only going to get worse until we look the situation squarely in the eye and—for want of a better word—collectively panic. (Well, not panic, per se, but to act like these fellow citizens we’ve all seen after they escaped from wildfires engulfing their homes: quickly change course and save themselves and what they can of their lives.) We as a country needs to address our situation analytically and systematically. The current Administration’s policy of degregulation and denial has only made these crises more acute.
Is there a remedy? Well, come around here—virtually—and get involved. Participate in programs and activities to sustain, restore, protect, and connect you. That empower, enlighten, slate our thirst, and make clearer our view in a parched, smoky time.
We need each other. Like water drawn to the sea, people naturally incline toward nurturing communities and wholesome good work, if they’re encouraged. So welcome back, UUs! Let us celebrate this place, its mission, and its heritage of practicing love, exploring spirituality, building community, and promoting justice! The time is now. It is clearly a perilous time. But one also filled with promise for those who keep the faith.