April Showers – Water for Life
We associate April with showers. In Al Jolson’s famous words, ‘Though April showers may come your way they bring the flowers that bloom in May’. There is profound truth here – rain is essential for life on earth. The Bible includes water in its opening words, even before it mentions life on earth. ‘The earth was void and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And God’s Spirit moved over the waters’. (Gen. 1.21)
Water nourishes life. Water is inherent to Christianity, like the river flowing into one of Europe’s oldest buildings, the baptismal atPoitiers. Our Christian lives begin with water. Hence the fonts, as at St Peter’s, near entrances of churches. We there pray facing east where sun rises giving life. All four gospels narrate Jesus’ own public baptism in theJordanby the Baptist. His ministry climaxed at Caesarea Philippi near the source of theJordan. At Jesus’ death water flowed from his side onto our earth.
Eastern Christians call their fonts ‘theJordan’. Early Christian writers called all earth’s water ‘the cosmicJordan’. All earth’s waters are related to the Jordan and Jesus’ baptism. Through evaporation, clouds, precipitation – those April showers again – earth’s waters literally are related to theJordan– and to all water everywhere.
Local churches should witness to Christian respect for water. We can harvest rain in hall downpipes and cisterns and use that water for baptism, flowers, and cleaning, and then return it to plants in the ‘living churchyard’. In our homes, including flats, we can respect water. The RSPB suggests we create little ‘rain gardens’, simply by making a slight depression in the ground near rain runoff. Then we can plant a few native plants tolerant of occasional temporary flooding. Those plants, with a regular supply of natural water provide a mini habitat for wildlife. The RSPB says, ‘However modest in size rain-gardens can play an important role in restoring natural water cycles in urban areas, which is good news for urban wildlife.’
Too much land in and around Bexhill is ‘sealed’, as in front gardens become mini-car-parks, water and life can no longer bless the soil. We can heal a bit of soil sealing by removing a slab or piece of asphalt, thereby letting rain permeate and new life begin again. We are resurrection people.
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