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March 31, 2021

I had a conversation with someone the other day and we talked about how we were both always amazed how Spring brings growth.  He was telling me how his wife had planted some seeds, and, in a few days, they were sprouting.  All they needed was light to warm the soil and water to help them grow.  I always look forward to Spring when the maple sap flows, when the ground warms and especially when it is time to plant a garden.  I love planting and especially get excited when the first radish seeds start sprouting.  It is just so awesome.  But without the water, there would not be much growth…
“One of the blessings of my time was the opportunity I had to study Hebrew.  For those who truly love reading scripture, I encourage you to read it in its original language, for, as cliché as it may sound, so much can be lost in translation.  On almost the first day of Hebrew class we explored the creation story in the original words it was written.  I will never forget reading how ‘Adam’ (man or human) was formed from the ‘Adamah’ (ground, dust, or earth).  The English words ‘man’ and ‘ground’ don’t quite capture the connection between the human and the dust that God used to create him and us.
I was struck by a few things as I left Hebrew class that day so many years ago.  I remember suddenly having a different emotional care for the earth that I was in some divine way connected to.  I also remember thinking about how dust or earth alone is simply not enough to make a human.  The Genesis narrative goes on to tell how God breathed His spirit into Adam, and then after that this new dusty and earthy creation could finally live (Genesis 2:7).  When I consider the ground, when I consider dust, I think of how nothing can grow with just dirt.  It needs water from Heaven above to truly live.  Just as the first human could not live as dirt alone, neither can we.  We need to be watered by God’s spirit to live.  And there is put within us a natural reminder that dust can’t bring forth life alone.  We are given the gift of thirst.
As a minister I am given the sacred opportunity of being invited into the lives of many different people, and I have found that nearly all of us thirst.  As a human, I have experienced this for myself.  I don’t simply mean the natural thirst for water that all humans have from time to time – for without water, we cannot live.  I mean the heart thirst that we all feel.  It is difficult to try to run the race that life is while thirsty.  Why not stop and drink deeply from the Pond, from the River, or from the Ocean right next to us?  Or better yet, why not lift up your head and let Living Water from Heaven rain deep into your heart.  As Jesus said, ‘whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst’ (John 4:14).
While in high school, I loved running for our school’s track and field team.  I was slated as a sprinter and as a jumper.  Much to my surprise, as I got older I grew fond of distance running.  My favorite summer run came one evening after my girls had gone to bed.  For the first time, I was going to run ten miles.  My path took me through the city down toward the river.  The humidity of the air made me especially sweaty and thirsty, to the point where I finished my bottle of water by the time I reached the halfway point.  It was dark, and I did not know if I’d be able to make it back home without walking.  As I began to slow down, I felt a drop.  And then another and another.  Soon my shirt was soaked with sweat and rain, and I had to take it off.  Flashing back to my childhood and shirtless, messy, muddy play dates with friends, I ran free through the downpour.  Smiling at the natural refreshment from Heaven above.  My miserable run became a joyous flight marked by the smile on my face and the delight in my heart.  I made it home fine with a heart-thirst quenched.  That life-giving Rain is available for all of us.  If we just keep our umbrellas down.”  (Charles Lattimore Howard, /Pond River Ocean Rain/)
I remember attending a graveside service years ago (before I became a pastor) and was intrigued by the words during the committal:  earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  I knew the words came from the Bible (Genesis) but hearing the words made me think how cold and hard life could be.  We are born and then we live and then back to the earth we go, from whence we were created.  (I have to tell you, as I write this, one of my favorite John Prine songs is going through my head:  But please don’t bury me, down in that cold, cold ground…  hey, I heard y’all singing 😉).
However, our bodies may be in the cold ground but our soul and Spirit will not be because of that life-giving water that IS available for all of us.  That Water not only helps us to grow but also give us hope that there is something better.  Please allow that life-giving rain to sink it, please don’t shield yourself from it.  We do need to be watered by God’s Spirit to live… and to live forever by believing in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  In that there is hope!  God bless and God’s got this!

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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