Lenten Outreach – the holy gift of water
St. Martin’s Lenten outreach project to provide clean water received an outpouring of generosity, and our church will be giving $3000 to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), the international relief and development agency of The Episcopal Church, for a well for a community. This 3/5 of the cost of a well! Together with gifts from other people, a locale will have clean water that will change lives. Water, which is so intertwined with our relationships with God – at the essence of creation, as a necessity of life, a symbol of Christian faith – can improve an entire community through your gift for a well.
Water is a holy gift. In creation, God knew water would be a living, flowing and life-giving gift to animals, plants and people. Water is a connector.
Through water and baptism, Jesus began his ministry, and even today, we are welcomed in the same way, called into a community of believers and sealed and marked as God’s children forever. We live out the vows we make in baptism as we heed a call to reach out and love and support each other. Signs and symbols, including those of water, help us touch and taste and feel and recognize God’s real presence in our lives. During this season of Lent, especially during Holy Week, we crave the tangible, and we long for God’s closeness. The holy gift of water plays an important part in our faith journey. We can touch, taste and feel water. It’s real.
For us to share a holy gift with people who struggle to access to clean, safe water is truly sharing God’s love, and it links us all in a big way.
St. Martin’s thanks Joy Malmgren for pouring her heart into this outreach effort. Each week, Joy spoke to our hearts in sharing water-related Bible stories of creation, Noah, still waters and serenity in Psalm 23, of Jesus’ baptism and God’s Spirit. Each week she shared more of the importance of clean water and the impact our gifts could make, like:
- Water is precious. If all of the world’s water was contained in a basketball, all of the drinkable water available would fit in a ping-pong ball.
- Clean water improves hygiene and health, and better health gives families more time to be productive and to have more education.
- Acquiring water is time-consuming. Women and children often spend over 6 hours each day procuring the water necessary for their families. The World Health Organization describes “reasonable access to water” as 5 gallons per person per day within 0.6 miles of the person’s home.
We’re not done with water
But we’re not done with water this Lent – we invite you to have a hands-on experience with water in the life and ministry of Jesus at our Good Friday Family Worship. Jesus really “got” water, and so can we, as we reflect and pray at these stations at 5:30 pm April 15:
- Jesus is baptised
- Jesus turns water into wine
- Jesus calms the storm
- Jesus walks on water
- Jesus and the woman at the well
- Jesus’ side is pierced
- Bottled water for Union Gospel Mission
The Good Friday family service seeks to explain God’s great love for all of us in a way that young children can understand, and our time in worship will surely touch everyone’s hearts. We will keep the focus on the holy, life-giving power of water and promote love across the world.
We offer you the opportunity to bring water bottle donations for our Service Sunday sack lunch program for people at Union Gospel Mission. These gifts of water make a difference in our hands-on outreach efforts in Tarrant County.
What do we do about water after Good Friday?
We pray. Prayer for people in need is an essential part of Christian faith. It brings us into communion with God, where our hearts can be tuned to the needs of others — especially those who are suffering. Please continue to pray daily for the people in need of water, for the work of ERD and their international partners, and for our hearts to be transformed in serving others.
Most merciful God, we remember before you all who go without nutritious food and clean water, and those who make due with less than their share. Help us to provide for them from your abundant creation, and guide us so that our gifts might be sustainable throughout generations. Grant this, dear God, for the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, who gave thanks to you, broke bread, and shared with all who were hungry. Amen.
God you created us and call us to be in this world, part of your creative force. In Christ you teach us the way of salvation. Help us to live radically in this world. Send your Spirit upon us that we might be instruments of your peace.
Holy and mighty
Holy Immortal One
That we might transform the world.
Lord, when was it that…
We saw you hungry and gave you food?
We saw you thirsty and gave you something to drink?
We saw you a stranger and welcomed you?
We saw you sick and took care of you?
We saw you in prison and visited you?
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” –A reflection on Matthew 35:37-40