Last night when giving Abby a bath, she does what she always does and waves to the water as it is draining and says “bye bye.” It is quite adorable. Normally I just smile and watch her for a second, then take her of to get changed. But last night I found myself asking “Did you thank the water?” Abby just kept waving, but I started thinking about why I asked the question.
St. Francis is my favorite of the saints (although I admit that he’s also more or less the only one I know anything about) and he always referred to animals and the Sun and Moon and even death in familial terms – brother and sister. Each a part of the family of God, each carrying their own importance and value because they merely exist, instead of being seen as ways in which they could be used. So maybe I was channeling a little bit of Francis when I asked the question.
The water is a wonderful gift from God, so giving thanks to God for water – that which cleanses us, brings enjoyment with playing in it, and nourishes us – makes perfect sense. But I do wonder if we might take care of what we have more if we begin to see things in the more Franciscan view, where we are indeed interconnected. Even St. Paul reminds us that all of Creation, even the soil itself, is awaiting the coming of the Lord when everything will be redeemed. Will we care more for the water if we not only see how it helps us, but also begin to see it in a way where it should be respected no matter what?
This jump can seem far too far to make, and is something I’m still working through in my own mind, but I do give thanks to the water for cleansing Abby, taking away all the dirt she got stomping in the mud and everything else, and giving her so much joy with splashing and scooping and everything else. Let us always give thanks for such a wonderful part of our lives.
Speaking of water, don’t forget all of our brothers and sisters in Flint who suffer every day because they do not have access to clean water. Support them by sending funds to Salem Water, c/o Southeast Michigan Synod, 8115 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214. Every week Salem Lutheran gives out semis worth of water to the people of Flint and also supplies filters to help families have access to cleaner water. This need is far from over.
1st Reading – 2 Samuel 13:23-29 – Absalom plots and fulfills the murder of his half-brother Amnon. David is told that Absalom killed all of David’s sons, but finds out it was just one. Absalom goes into hiding and David’s heart goes out to him.
Why is it that we have law? So that there can be healing and closure and so that there are penalties for one’s actions when they harm another. Amnon had raped Absalom’s sister, Tamar, but was not punished because David loved Amnon. It also doesn’t help that David was a rapist too, and because of it Nathan prophesied that the sword would never leave David’s house. Because of David’s inaction, even more relationships break down to the point that Absalom has his brother killed, and will eventually usurp the throne for a while, until Absalom does die in battle with David’s men, who David then kills for killing his son…. Yes, the Bible can be as bad as a soap opera.
We see this today when there is a giant uproar about Brock Turner only getting 6 months for raping a girl, all because he is a swimmer and being in jail might have negative effects on him. Perhaps the problem is that we don’t understand how much rape affects its victims, or people love to blame the victim instead of the culprit. I don’t know what it is, but when the law is unable or unwilling to give proper justice, relationships break down… everything breaks down.
It is our responsibility to let the Law work, not to make sure people get away with everything. While it is true that only God can judge us for what is to come after this life, God also gives the law and judges in order to maintain order and relationships in this world.
Our other responsibility is to love one another and to respect one another. So forms the 10 commandments, which help form a better society. So act in love, but also know that sometimes love has to be tough for the benefit of all. While there is forgiveness for all, there are always consequences as well.
2nd Reading – James 4:1-7 – Do you know why you are in conflict? Because of your cravings! You want and you take and you kill. You are Adulterers! You love the world and its promises, not God! Give yourselves to God and reject the devil, and the devil will flee from you.
Is this not something that we need to hear, even today? Have we really matured much since these early Christians? We live in a culture that says “if I have more toys, I win and I may be happy!” “Keeping up with the Jones’” defines how we live, always looking at what our neighbors have and wishing we had as much as them. Or maybe it’s how much money we can hoard, how many people we can bed, or how many friends we can accumulate. The world is filled with things that call us away from God, and being the sinners that we are, we listen and follow the siren’s song.
But we are called to be much more. We are called to be the servants of God, to look the devil right in the face and say “Go Away!” God gives us strength to live lives that are filled with purpose, instead of the hollow attempts to fill ourselves with garbage. It can be so hard to do, to turn our backs on what the world tells us, but we need to do it so that we can fully love God.
Lord, we live in a world of chaos and pain, but also one that has so much joy to bring about in our lives. Cleanse us of our sin today, guide us in your ways and give us the strength to follow you. Amen.