At St Matthew-in-the-City we are talking about water. And not just because this last week in the north of Aotearoa it hasn’t stopped raining. Although extreme weather is part of the conversation.

We are joining a worldwide conversation #justwater17 See the programme here

Water is a topic that appears in our NZ media every day – from polluted waterways, to rising sea levels, to selling bottled water, to droughts and floods.

Water is part of our faith conversation too – water as part of God’s creation, and water as the way we begin in faith – the water of baptism.

We began our conversations last Sunday talking about climate change with Dr Jenny Salmond from Auckland University. Watch her address here

We talked about how we can make the link between our personal choices and climate change. Climate change is such a huge “way out there” topic but we need to find ways to bring it down to our own simple actions. We talked about using public transport, using less water in our households. And then this week after the heavy rains in Auckland we are being asked to reduce our water use.

I am grateful to our speakers who are joining us in Lent. Three of them are bringing their work in the “secular” world into our church services to help us join the conversation. We are not expecting them to make the faith links but it is quite brave of them I think to feel comfortable speaking in a church context which is unfamiliar to them. We then have the challenging task of asking what does our faith tell us about these water issues?

A parishioner at St Matthew’s made me a beautiful card and wrote a prayer on the front which sums it up quite well (I use it with her permission but she prefers to remain anonymous).

O God,

One tiny bit of water rests on the palm of my hand.

I bring it to you and with it I bring the whole ocean.

This tiny drop has the power to ease the burning thirst of humanity;

when spread on the earth,

to give life to the seed and the future harvest,

when poured on the fire to quench the blaze.

A tiny drop of water can cleanse the whole of my impurity

when blessed by your forgiveness.

But O God,

more than all this,

this tiny drop of water passed over my head

is the symbol of my birth in you.

In the church we have water flowing in a water feature and stones are available for people to place in the water, a way of letting go of something this Lent and feeling cleansed perhaps.


One thing I have learned already about water (which I didn’t know before, although maybe I learnt it at school?) is that the water cycle on our planet is a closed system – water is neither lost nor gained as it changes from cloud to sea and back again[1]. So when we use water to wash, drink, cleanse, bless, baptise we are touching water that has done these things before, many times. Next time I baptise someone I will wonder where this water has been before. Who else has it baptised?

#justwater17 is getting us thinking about water.

[1] NZ Geographic Magazine Issue 125 p39

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