~ Tiny Drops Flooding Humanity ~
Last week I rode my mountain bike into a nearby swamp
and sat down against a tree stump. The Spring Peepers (frogs) were singing
their magnificent cadence. I planned to write this Reflection there, but
the magic of the place lured me into just listening. I recalled Psalm 104:
"O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and
majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the
heavens like a tent and lays the beams of its upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes
winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its
foundations; it can never be moved...I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing
to him, as I rejoice in the Lord" (Psalm 104: 1-5, 33-34, NIV).
In contrast, this week I spent time on the banks of the flooding Delaware
River in the northeast US. The flood level was higher than that of last September,
and the highest in the last fifty years. The flood waters of this river were
not directly caused by rain. A couple hundred of small creeks were receptacles
of zillions of drops of water falling from the sky. Congregating in these
tributaries, they had nowhere to go except to the river basin. There, in
the Delaware River, they became one movement, one body, 1.7 million gallons
flowing past me every second.
Like wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural events, floods
can only be called disasters when people choose to live and work where they
happen. Otherwise, such events dissipate the earth's energy and replenishes
the environment. From one viewpoint, they are blessings. From another, disasters.
From yet another, they are both at the same time.
Just as disasters can be blessings in disguise, (and I experienced that),
blessings can also be disasters in disguise (which I also experienced.) Can
you think of something that you first regarded as a blessing, but later proved
to be a disaster? A lot of million dollar lottery winners can. Can you think
of apparent disasters that proved to be blessings? Many of us can, or will
be able to when enough time passes when we are able to look back and say
"Thank you, God" for something for which we had no gratitude at first.
The almost two million gallons of water flowing by me per second reminded
me of other events in human history. In August 1963, 200,000 people covered
the ground from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument demonstrating
for civil rights under the leadership of one man, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hundreds of courageous people climbed the Berlin Wall and hammered it down.
Pope John Paul's legacy pulled a constant presence of hundreds of thousands
beneath the window of his death bed and now, an equal number parades past
his body. Two thousand years ago, twelve men who hid in fear after the crucifixion
of the Christ emerged to begin a flow of faith and spiritual power, later
joined by billions of individuals.
This is what is meant by "the body of Christ." The sea of humanity rests
in various basins. The ones who carry their Creator's blessings overflowed
the banks that were supposed to contain them, flooding every home that chose
to be a receptacle of the Holy Spirit. I am just a drop, a single cell, of
no importance in and of myself, quite fragile and vulnerable. As part of
the body of Christ, however, I am joined by you and billions of others, in
the "communion of the saints." That is a profound miracle of existence for
which I am grateful.
But another miracle to be pondered is that Christ knows the exact number
of the hairs on our heads and every single thought in our hearts and minds.
In God's eyes, we are worthy of His incarnation, death and resurrection.
In my own eyes, I am worthy of nothing. That is how it should be. Standing
next to the flooding waters of the Delaware reminded me of this. Listening
to the Spring Peepers also reminded me of this. I will return again to listen
to their cadence, and to the banks of the Delaware to listen to its receding
I end with another wonder. How can so many Christians not feel the lure of
God's creation? "Power walks" and exercise is good for the body. Sitting
down next to a gurgling creek or a flooding river for an hour is good for
the soul. Such meditative states reminds us of the blessings and disasters
in our lives. And with that knowledge we pray through and beyond them.
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
~ Education, Research and Advocacy
in the Christian Faith ~
Spiritual Resource Services © April 8, 2005
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