A Prayerful Reflection on Water
In 2003, Eco-Justice Ministries sponsored an Earth Day service in Denver, Colorado, on the theme Celebrating God's Good Gift of Water. At that time, Colorado was deep into a multi-year drought. This reflection, spoken by two readers at the start of the service, helped set the tone of the worship. The alternating lines in normal type and italic indicate the parts of the two voices.
One of the challenges of focusing on "water" as a theme for worship is that it is so amazingly broad. How do we begin to wrap our minds and spirits around all of the wonder and delight of water, and its role in the world?
The last year of dramatic drought and restrictions on water use have made us more aware of water uses that we may have taken for granted. But there is so much more.
For the next few moments, we'll try to stimulate your imagination, and to stir your feelings. Listen. Rejoice, and give thanks to God for the wonders of water.
Gracious and ever-loving God, we thank you for oceans and seas, rivers and streams,
For lakes, ponds and springs, wetlands and bogs,
Glaciers and snowfields, flurries of snow and blizzards,
Aquifers and wells,
Rain and drizzle, mist and downpours,
Water to irrigate, and to flush,
Water for swimming, and floating, and splashing,
Drinking and cooking and washing,
Water refreshingly cool, and reassuringly warm, and boiling hot,
Water from fountains and faucets and hoses,
Water in pools, and tubs and showers,
Water gurgling, and rushing, and seeping,
Waves rolling and crashing,
Water sparkling, glistening and reflecting.
Water clean, pure and life-giving.
For the wondrous delights of water, O God, we give thanks.
But we also confess, God, the abuses of your good gift:
Water that is dirty and polluted and poisoned,
Squandered and wasted,
Dammed and diverted and drained,
Hoarded and owned and sold,
Stolen from wildlife, and sloshed upon lawns,
Mined from aquifers at unsustainable rates.
We remember, O God, that clean water is a casualty of war,
That the poor often do not have access to adequate and sanitary water,
That the very hallmarks of our affluent lifestyle befoul your good water with oil spills and agricultural chemicals,
With silt from our farms and sludge from our sewers,
That rivers are tainted with the residues of our household wastes -- cleansers, and caffeine and prescription drugs,
That our paving of the land and filling of wetlands disrupts the natural processes for cleansing water and controlling its flow.
We confess, O God, that we have taken your good gift of water,
Claimed it for our own,
And denied it to the rest of your creation.
Forgive us, God.
Renew our sense of gratitude,
Bring us back into relationship with you and with all of your creation,
And by your grace, lead us,
And our society,
Into responsible stewardship of your good gift of water.
With thanks, O God, we pray.
And let the people say "Amen."
Copyright 2003, Eco-Justice Ministries. Permission to reproduce is granted for one-time use in worship bulletins.
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * 303.715.3873
Home Page: www.eco-justice.org *