Post Sabbatical Ruminations


One of the things I can foresee as I return to work – and travel for work when gas prices have risen almost $2 more than before I started my Sabbatical – is going to be the need to connect more regularly with the peace, serenity, and messages offered by the Earth and all her creatures.  I will need to feel the trees, the sand, the wind, the surf…whatever medium the trail of my ongoing sacred pilgrimage brings to me.  But also, moving into the summer, I will begin to feel the heat. I will feel it burn, my whole body and being will get grouchy, and as always, I am (and will be) ever conscious of the big difference I can feel stepping between sun and shade, no matter where my feet take me.

This, in turn, reminds me to also feel the need for and reverence the sacred sustenance of water.  We are fortunate up here in the PNW that we are one of the micro-regions (at least on the west side of the Cascades) that will see either increased rain, or at least close to “normal” levels of rain, even during the ever-emerging new realities within our climate crisis. Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, California and all of the SW will, in fact, probably continue its inexorable trend to hotter and drier. Eastern Washington may do the same. Despite record rainfall in April and May, Oregon as a state is still in a protracted drought.  It takes years to re-balance to equilibrium a falling (or in some cases failing) water table.  Wells have to be dug deeper to bring up the cool, life-sustaining waters – and the deeper they draw water up from, the older that water is – in some cases hundreds if not thousands of years older.  When that happens, even more water needs to fall and soak into the ground, trickling down to those aquifers meters and meters below our poor Earth’s surface to refresh and re-balance historical levels.  The Earth needs it, and we, as her primary consumers, need to cut back our use of it (not to mention many other harmful practices that actually kill off parts of the intricate web of life food chain).

But I write all this to lift up for your consideration “sacred water” as a sacred focusing device for our ongoing pilgrimage/journey of faith. Yes, focus must shift in our work; and  teasing out the directions in all our Presbytery’s regions of what and where new forms and practices of ministry might lead has been a much needed seed-scattering.  Along with sacred water and sacred focus, I lift up one of my Sabbatical readings: Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul by John Philip Newell. The entire concept of Sacred, I believe, has been too little emphasized in our collective spirituality of late (I am talking about not only our faith but sister faiths with which we have much in common in the need to hold our Earth in hands of careful tending).  Understanding all as sacred, I believe, can prove to be a center collection point from which all of us, regardless of our spiritual pilgrimages, can find common ground. In this, all of us – regardless of our particular stream in the Great Current of Spirit – might offer our own contributions to the deeply held common “water table” from which all spiritual sustenance is then drawn.

And, despite the fact that I drive a Prius to work and back, maybe it is time to do more than just consider additional actions to practice what I preach – maybe it is past time to simply evolve and do them!

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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