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September 8, 2019: “Chances of Precipitation”

As always on the first Sunday after Labor Day, there’s a very good chance of precipitation in the sanctuary.  Water will materialize, coming in from all over the world, so bring water with you to add to it for the Homecoming Water Communion.  Your water can come from anywhere: the pond down the road, your summer travels, the municipal swimming pool, or your bathroom tap.

Homily “Chances of Precipitation”   Rev Denis Letourneau Paul

Does anybody know how the Bible begins?

It starts “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The book of Genesis goes on to describe how “the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep,” and the Spirit “hovered over the waters.”

Then, in this story of creation, God goes on to separate light from dark, calling them day and night, then he creates “a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”   

There was water below….the oceans and the bits of land… and water above … the clouds full of water … and everything in between was sky.

All of the life was in that water.

Even the earliest humans understood that we come from water, so they made creation tales about that.  Every culture did it, and most of their tales were about water.  Which makes sense because not only do we come from water, we are made mostly of water.  

Water should be celebrated as the basis of our lives, and yet we hate the idea of being in the rain.  Unless it’s 90 degrees outside, we’ve been oppressed by the heat and humidity, we’re wearing our bathing suits, AND we have nowhere else to be, we might enjoy getting caught in the rain.  Otherwise, we pretty much universally hate the inconvenience of it all.  

So, we watch the weather forecasts, try to figure out what the chances of precipitation are, determine whether we should carry an umbrella or not, maybe if we should bike or drive.  If there’s a 20% chance of rain and the sky is blue, we might risk it.  But if there’s a 9% chance of rain and the sky is ominous….probably not.  And in a place like Ohio, where the weather is unpredictable and can change quickly, we pay attention so we can measure our risks carefully.

On the island of Bermuda, which is about 880 miles off the coast of of Charleston, South Carolina, the weather is pretty predicable.  

It’s not a tropical paradise, an they do get slammed by hurricanes — Dorian just missed them last week.  Throughout the year, they get a little less than 5 inches of rain every month.

But Bermuda is a small island. They don’t have reservoirs, so they have to collect water and store it under their houses, in cisterns.  The water collects….

Rain is lovely.  Welcomed.  It keeps their drinking water fresh and plentiful, and it keeps families from having to carry water from sources that could be far away.

Let’s try something.  Who would like to help….

In hot dry climates, where rain is not common an water sources are few and far between, it’s the job of the children, usually girls, have to walk.

[Have people carry buckets of water from the back of the sanctuary to the front.]

How hard was that?

Imagine walk with those buckets 3.4 miles.  Because that is the average distance water has to be carried in developing countries.  3.4 miles, because they usually have to go more than once.  

Think about what can happen to a young girl as she walks  3.4 miles to fetch water.  Imagine the risk that girl and her family are taking to send them out.  It’s not an easy job.  And it’s pretty scary.  That makes water even more precious. So you can imagine that a lot of families drink less water than they should because they don’t want to take the risk.  And that effects their nutrition and their health.  

Isn’t that funny?  Here in Ohio, most of us look at the weather to determine if we want to risk leaving the house without an umbrella, and people around the world have to determine what the risks are to their safety — even their lives — if they go out to get water.