Posted by: mcgurker | June 23, 2010

Healing Waters

The Bible and our religious traditions are filled with images of healing waters. The worship section of the National Council of Churches Stewards of the Bay resource discusses the purification water can bring. “Pools and Streams have healing gifts for those who come in faith with openness for the power of nature.” (Stewards of the Bay, 10). In the Gospel of Mark, the “beginning of the good news” happens with people traveling to the banks of the Jordan River to be baptized and confess their sins (Mark 1: 1- 5). Even today, many of us seek out water to provide us with a sense of peace and to rejuvenate our souls.

But what happens when the source of our healing becomes sick and polluted. Many of us feel helpless in the face of the tragedy that continues to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico. Collectively, we mourn for the loss of sea life and the loss of our neighbor’s livelihoods. I recently returned from a two week family reunion/ vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. While we enjoyed the peace and rejuvenation God’s gift of the Atlantic Ocean blessed us with, we struggled together to cope with the implications the oil spill would have on the beaches and communities of the Florida panhandle where we vacationed together when I lived in Florida.

Last week I had a doctor’s appointment and while he was checking my blood pressure and listening to my lungs, my doctor said, “I can’t believe what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico.” and we mourned together the sickness of one of our countries most precious bodies of water.

God has promised to transform our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). Just as in the Gospel of Mark, the beginning of the good news will take place when the people repent and confess their sins. We must pray for healing of the Gulf region, but we must also pray for the transformation of our culture of oil dependence and over consumption that has allowed this tragedy to occur.

In the process of turning our mourning into dancing, our collective mourning must become collective action. As a nation, we need to demand from our government a comprehensive response to the Gulf tragedy that holds the responsible parties accountable, ensures that the people in the Gulf are held harmless, and ensures that this will never happen again. As individuals we must repent of our own oil dependence and take steps to limit our energy consumption. Click here for ways to reduce your energy consumption.

We must also become aware of the impact we have on the healing waters of our own communities and take steps to ensure that we are not polluting our neighborhood’s waterways. Click here to download the resource Water Stewards: A Toolkit for Congregational Care of Local Watersheds.

If you live in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, click here to download resources to help you and your congregation become better “Stewards of the Bay” by reducing polluted runoff from your yard, decreasing your energy consumption, and learning about God’s call to Stewardship.

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