This Lent we gather in the cave: an ancient place of protection and encounter with God.
We draw our attention to the sound of moving water as it trickles down cave walls and drips into shallow pools. We sit this week with lectionary passages full of water stories.
The Exodus passage (17:1-6) recounts the struggles of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. The people are thirsty and scared. And worried not just about themselves but their children and animals. The people cry out to Moses and also to God with desperate voices. Yahweh responds and instructs Moses to strike the rock at Horeb with his staff, and fresh water pours forth for the people to drink.
Have you ever been so thirsty you were scared?
I used to go trail running at a state park when I lived in Indiana. Once I got lost. My mouth became dry with thirst and fear. My mind did funny things: I kept thinking I heard a stream up ahead but then I would realize it was just the sound of the wind rushing through the leaves. I ran and walked alone through the forest for several hours and ended up emerging at another side of the park. Relief flooded my whole system when I saw evidence of other people— cars parked in a parking lot—and I knew that I was no longer lost. It was still another long walk along a service road back to my car and the extra water I carried. As I drank it I could almost feel each one of my depleted cells being restored. Gratitude poured in with the water and replaced the dehydration and fatigue.
Lent is often characterized as a season of soul work. I wonder if it wouldn’t better be described as an invitation to soul care. The process of human transformation is uneven. As we say yes to God and move deeper into our healing, it becomes harder to maintain an internal imbalance. The tired, vulnerable, thirsty parts of ourselves call out for our attention.
What parts of you are parched and in need of replenishing?
I invite you to play around with water practices this week as you engage this question. Notice your sensation of thirst and let it remind you of your connection to other living creatures. Cultivate gratitude as you hold a glass of clean water. Drink before meals and exercise to give your body what it needs to digest and sweat. (It turns out many of us live in a state of minor dehydration most of the time, which can make other health challenges worse). Give up beverages other than tap water for a day or more and donate the money you save to help build wells in Uganda.
And join us this Sunday for conversation about our thirsty selves and our thirsty world. We will collect a special offering in honor of World Water Day to help build safe drinking wells for communities in need.
Exodus 17: 1-6
The Israelites left the desert of Syn to travel by stages, as YHWH had directed them. They camped at Rephidim, but found no drinking water. Again they turned on Moses, saying, “Give us drinking water.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test YHWH?” But the people were thirsty, and complained even more to Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt only to make us and our children and our livestock die of thirst?” Moses appealed to YHWH. “What am I to do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” YHWH answered Moses, “Take some of the elders and move to the front of the people. Take with you the staff with which you struck the Nile. Go! I will wait for you there by the rock of Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the peopel to drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders.
Readings and Discussions at 10 AM in the lounge. Facilitated by Stephanie Wyatt & Adam DJ Brett
March 27-Role and importance of sexuality in theology with the provocative Marcella Althaus-Reid
April 3-Understanding why we post-moderns are as we are with help from Jaime Clark-Soles
April 10-Why the Old Testament and Jesus’ Jewish identity really matter according to Amy-Jill Levine
April 17-Prayers and meditations from our own Jann Aldredge-Clanton as we go into Holy Week
We will have copies of the articles for the upcoming week with us each week, or save us printing costs and receive the whole packet by emailing Adam (firstname.lastname@example.org).