In today’s readings, I was struck by the many references to nature: water, light, rivers, seas, fish, trees, mountains, fruit, and pools. In the collect, we ask God to “quench our thirst with living water and flood our darkened minds with heavenly light.” In the reading from Ezekiel, a man is led into a river alongside a bank of trees that will provide food and leaves for healing. In the psalm, we are told that “there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.” And in the gospel reading from John, we learn of pools in Jerusalem where invalids go to be healed.
During Lent, Christians undertake penitence and fasting at the same time that springtime brings celebrations in nature. Perhaps we distractible humans need this time of fasting in order to appreciate the beauty of the world that God has given us–the beauty that is at the forefront of today’s readings.
For me, the magnificence of our natural world is proof of the existence of God. Yes, there is war, poverty and disease; but there are also blooming cherry blossoms and sunrises over the Potomac so beautiful that I’m moved to take photos from the back of a taxi. That beauty and that pain is the paradox of life, of which I am reminded during this season of personal austerity and natural abundance.
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: