Let The River Flow: Reflections of a Roman Catholic Woman Priest

This wonder-full photo was taken by my friend John Hancock whose days are spent near this body of water and its creatures

OUR Lenten readings today equate the flow of water- rain, snow–flowing water– to the words of God. The water falls and makes the earth fertile and fruitful and the words that come from God will not return to God empty but accomplish what it was sent to do- make the earth and those who hear and heed the words fertile and fruitful as well. (Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34:4-7; Matthew 6:7-15). How fruitful are you feeling these days, are God’s words raining down on you? Do you hear, see or feel them?

So how do we “hear” God’s words? We listen to the rain fall, that is, take time to attend to God in nature, to the magnificence and awesome-ness of our Creator God, our Father-Mother God. Nature is all around us from the city streets and tall canyons of buildings, to the purple sky and tiny flowers in the desert, to the boats bobbing on the sea and the seabirds playing and diving into them. To the warm hands and smiles of those around us– to the music of the spheres. We listen for God’s voice in the voices of those around us. Those who love us and care for us are indeed the voice of God to us. Those who are hurt or upset or frightened and in need of our caring, those who have lost so much and need help to survive are also the voice of God to us. And yes, sometimes our surroundings are not so loving, then we allow God, and even seek God, to be our comfort and our joy- as the Psalm says our God is “close to the broken hearted and those crushed in spirit God saves.”

In the Gospel of John (1:14) we learn that Jesus, the Christ, is the Word of God made flesh and dwelling among us. The Holy Scriptures are also the word of God. We are so blessed to have them to teach us. So, even as we walk with Jesus, we also turn to the Holy Scriptures and read and pray with them daily. One does not drink or use water once in a while but daily and regularly. The Holy Bible is full of messages from God in all of its pages from Genesis to the Torah, the Law, the Prophets, like Isaiah, all of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.

The Gospel today is Jesus teaching us how to pray (Matthew 6:7-15). We call this “The Lord’s Prayer”. And as we pray it we are asking for the kin-dom/kingdom of God to come on earth, (for us to help bring justice and peace to this earth) and for everyone on this earth to have their daily bread (and water), not just ourselves. We are asked to forgive others as God forgives us. What a wonderful formula for growing and being fruitful. So indeed as water is all around us and makes the world fruitful, God’s words are all around us. They are written and spoken and visual words-words we can see all around us. As water is necessary for life, so are God’s words in all its varied forms necessary for life. How do we listen to God’s words?

There are many little periodicals to help us structure Scripture reading. For example, in the daily scripture magazine Living With Christ , livingwithchrist.us

we can follow the daily Scriptures used in the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches daily. In today’s readings there is a piece by Sr. Melanie Svoboda, S.N.D, that says it very well:

“Water is a very apt image for God’s word. Why? It is essential for life. It is graceful and ungraspable. It cleanses and rejuvenates. In fact, when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, he described his teachings as “living water”. It’s easy for us to take the blessing of water for granted. Let us rekindle our reverence for water by being mindful of every drop of water we use today. Then we can try to be less wasteful of water. We can also educate ourselves on water shortages in our world.( My words-Like for example, the horn of Africa that experienced its longest drought in 40 years in 2022 and experienced its fifth consecutive failed rainy season. And, in the US, Florida and 41.35 % of the lower 48 and Puerto Rico are now officially in drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor). And finally we can take time just to be with water-a river, an fountain, or even a single glassful-and give thanks to God for this great gift. Gracious God, thank you for the water of your word and the water of our earth.”

Photograph by John Hancock

May we appreciate water, may we glide like these ducks and swim and dart and play in it. May we be careful not to waste it and cherish it. May everyone have enough of it to drink and use and enjoy. May we pray for those in drought and may we do something , including send funds to agencies and organizations serving those areas where people do not have access to water.

Let the River Flow is a beautiful contemporary song and hymn. Check it out with google or your search engine. The words include: “”Let the poor man say I am rich in Him, Let the lost man say I am found in Him…let the dead man say I am born again, Let the river flow. Let the river flow!

And may we read, listen and watch for the loving word of God all around us.

Be blessed,

Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP

Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, Good Shepherd Ministries of Southwest Florida

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