By Rev. Dr. Gregory Waldrop
Everything begins with water. Waters of Creation, waters of the womb, and waters of baptism, all welcome a vitality and a steadfast love that embodies the best of gracious living. Water is essential to life abundant and eternal.
The waters of Earth are truly the waters of life. Indeed, if our planet were correctly named, it would be called “Water” because water so predominates the natural world. The physical world knows the life-giving quality of water; the spiritual world knows the power of water as symbol and sacrament, using water in most every initiatory and renewal ceremony. All that God does, water does—nourishes, renews, cleanses, heals, refreshes, protects. Holy and wholesome life requires water.
How are the waters of life faring where you live?
Any creation care ministry must include local concerns of water quality and availability. Ask Flint, Michigan, or Blandville, Kentucky, how important water systems are. Inquire of anyone involved in a natural disaster how big a priority restoring water supply is. Clean and abundant water for communities throughout the world remain the single most effective component of community health, especially for pregnant women and young children, according to most public health officials. Almost all Federal EPA SuperFund sites throughout the US involve threatened water resources of local municipalities and, often, inland waterways. What other incidents from your life and area can you add to confirm the central place water plays in holy and wholesome life?
How can you and your congregation be a part of caring for the holy waters of God’s creation?
- How about leading a youth group or a senior trip to your local water works facility? Use the field trip to inspire a Bible study on Genesis 1 and begin a conversation about both water’s central place in the creation and our care for it.
- Perhaps you have a favorite creek or meadow, a special stream or trail. Might your congregation spend a day freeing it from litter?
- Most states recruit volunteers through its water conservation agencies to regularly test the health of the watershed that serves your favorite places. Volunteering with them is a great way to take your faith life outdoors to care for creation.
- Many water treatment systems and pollution remediation programs have citizen advisory boards that need thoughtful and faithful members to ensure public health priorities—holy work with clear and practical results. Who in your congregation or district could give leadership in that capacity?
- Find out about the many non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—many of which are faith-based—whose primary mission is to provide clean and abundant water to villages and settlements throughout the world. What a mission trip, what a witness, joining such a project would make. What a great way to share a cup of living water in Jesus’ name!
- Identify opportunities close-by and far away for faithfully attending to the water resources in ways that help this garden we call Creation flourish. Perhaps, something simple like a workshop for the congregation and community on at-home water conservation practices will be a starting point for a deeper dive. Who would have guessed that the length of your showers and your bathroom fixtures were important matters of faith and faithfulness?
In our call to creation care everything begins with water. Blessings for finding your role in caring for it.
Rev. Dr. Gregory Waldrop was baptized on Palm Sunday, 1954, and called to preach in August, 1971, at Mayfield, Kentucky, First UMC, which was destroyed by a tornado in December, 2021. He is a retired UM elder in full “connexion” with Mr. Wesley and a member of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference Creation Care Ministry Team.