Friday, April 22, 2011

Aquatic People Parable

This one is for all of the aquatic people out there!

Genesis 1:1-2
Psalm 42:1-11
Mark 1:4-11
John 4:7-26 (4:1-42)
Revelation 22:1-2, 17, 20-21

Pour water during each reading to signify the connection of your group as a people of God. Water can be poured from a waterbottle, helmet or other container that your group normally uses. Consider using a new person to pour the water during each reading or use only one person to pour to keep it simple. You get bonus points if you can pour the water into the lake or stream that your group is about to paddle or has enjoyed together during the day.

Leader reads Genesis 1:1-3 while participant pours.

Water is not only common in the Bible, it is critical to the message of hope and redemption. When scripture first begins, we see that God’s Spirit is hovering over the creative waters. This should be a reminder that even when the waters are troubled and chaotic, God’s Spirit is watching over us. The water is reflective not only of the physical waters we will travel together but also of our lives. It is comforting to know that God’s Spirit is watching over us, hovering over us like a mother eagle watches over her nest, even when times are tough.

Leader reads Psalm 42:1-11 while participant pours.

The Psalm reading also reminds us of the refreshing character of God’s Spirit. Not only does it watch over us in troubled times but it satisfies a thirst that is deep in our souls. Like physical thirst, we may not notice this inner thirst right away and may go too long before “drinking in” in the Spirit. We may go too long without drinking and become spiritually dehydrated. Can you remember a time on this trip, or during your life, when you were so hot and thirsty that you could barely stand it? Then when you finally were able to have a cool cup of water, it was so refreshing. Jesus offers the Holy Spirit to us so that we might also be refreshed. Take the time during this trip to stop and think about how you might be refreshed by God.

Leader reads Mark 1:4-11 while participant pours.

In the Gospel of Mark we see how John baptized Jesus with water, but pointed out the Jesus was the one that would fill us with God’s Spirit. During our time together on and in the water, we – as your leaders – will sometimes be covering you with water which is symbolic both of God’s love that is best seen through the grace that comes from Christ and our love for God. Through our relationship with God we are best able to be in relationship with others we care for each other and help each other along life’s journey. Water is the symbol for us as the people of God.

Leader reads John 4:7-26 (shorter version) or John 4:1-42 (longer version) while participant pours.

The fourth chapter of the Gospel of John is the anchor verse for paddlers. In this verse we, along with the woman at the well, are offered the life-giving living water of Jesus who is the savior of the world. The story tells us that God’s love is offered to all who come to the well to drink whether we are part of the in-crowd or are suffering from ruined relationships and broken hearts like the Samaritan woman. As we paddle together we may take some spills and even have some lost gear and broken boats but we are reminded that through Christ, the chaotic waters will be calmed and life will be renewed.

Leader reads Revelation 22:1-2, 17, 20-21 while participant pours.

Revelation completes our scripture. You may have noticed the life giving water that flows from the “throne of God.” Jesus told his disciples that the Kingdom of God has already come and the opportunity to enjoy spiritual refreshment and renewal can be enjoyed now. No matter what troubles we face today, God gives us hope and a future through the Holy Spirit who strengthens and sustains us. And in the end, the water will be the purest, and we will be completely refreshed and renewed when we are in the presence of God.

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