Life on earth began in water, and all life on earth depends on water. Our emergence from and reliance on water is one of the most tangible and deepest connections between all manner of life – from humans to puppies to reptiles to insects to trees. Water embodies our inter-relatedness, our interdependence…
Water heals, cleanses, sustains. Many of us travel during our vacations to destinations where water is the main attraction. We sit oceanside, lakeside, poolside just to be near the calming, life-affirming quality that water provides. Water is foremost among the many things that unite us as a world community.
Though we all have the same need, water scarcity is a reality in the lives of more than a billion people around the planet. We who do not suffer its lack are challenged with the responsibility to manage and conserve the water we have, to find ways to distribute water to regions where it is so desperately needed, and to acknowledge the blessing of unfettered access to this vital resource.
In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, ingathering is commonly celebrated with a Water Communion ritual. Members of a community bring water collected on their various travels over the summer, and they are combined in a single vessel to symbolize the coming back together of the community, and the strength of the connection. As all water eventually comes home to the ocean, so do we all come home to ourselves and each other. And our spirits – thirsty for connection – are slaked by the symbolism in this ritual.
This water symbolizes a wellspring of peace, of joy, of love, and of abundance. May we be motivated to put forth our own efforts and energy toward creating these as a reality for the world – peace, joy, love, abundance. As the water from our journeys is combined in that vessel this morning, may we all be united in these. May there come a day when no one in our world community goes thirsty.