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Newaygo United Methodist Church
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

Water Of Life

The Water of Life
Revelation 7:9-17
One of the most intriguing sights comes when you are flying above the clouds and look forward to see gathering storm clouds around the plane. Those clouds look ominous and threatening, and I am often grateful that we can skirt around the worst of those clouds. Those clouds could have raging storms beneath them, pounding the earth with wind, hail, lightning, and drenching rains. If one is on the ground and sees one of those clouds approaching, they notice the air begins to smell damp, the winds begin to pick up. Perhaps the distant sound of thunder or sight of lightning warns the bystander to head for shelter. Sometimes the rain begins as a gentle, pleasant sound before the storm breaks into all its fury. Winds drive the rain, leaves twirl, flowers bend and sometimes break and branches fall. then as the storm subsides, a more gentle rain can continue to fall, clouds begin to break, shots of sunshine begin to emerge and sometimes a rainbow appears. The earth has been refreshed and life goes on, richer for the downpour. Plants and animals have been provided new sources of life giving water. 
In a storm it isn’t the wind or lightning or drenching downpours that provide what the earth needs. It’s most often the steady, gentle rains that have a chance to soak into the ground that do the most good. Sometimes we are like the hard storms. We try to take the world by storm, pounding it with the winds of our impatience, the lightning of our power, and the loud thunder of our protests and demands. But we also get pounded by the storms. Hurts and disappointments pummel us and we emerge from some storms battered and worn. But we simply pick up the pieces and wait for the next storm, trying to build barricades that will protect us. 
But when we live a life of faith, when we allow Jesus to be at the center of our lives, we know that amidst the fury of life’s storms, gentle soaking rains of living water fall and replenish us. We soak in the water that is the quiet way of faith, we soak in the sure steady presence of one who weathers us through the storm that batters and bruises us and brings us the life giving, gentle rains that sustain and nurture us. Without this steady rain of faith, the storms would just wash over us, pounding rain would run off down the hill into drains, and our lives would just have one more example of how a storm can rob us of strength and defeat us. If we get too many of those storms without the slow, steady rain, we could become hardened and cynical and far too self-protecting. 
The slow gentle rain is the lamb who stands at the center of our faith. His way is not the way of the world. He does not bulldoze his way into our lives, trying to get us to believe with mighty blows and earth shattering miracles. He winds his way into our hearts gently, sometimes in the calm after a storm, sometimes in the gentle rain smell before a storm, sometimes in a quiet moment of sunshine, or a surrounding blanket of fog. 
Jesus came to us, not as a soldier, or conqueror, or even a man of power and prestige. He came to us as a gentle lamb, a man vulnerable to the whims of those who could not see his way and those who were threatened by his new way of thinking. The gentle man is one who quiets the storms of our lives and diminishes their power to destroy us. This lamb becomes the shepherd who offers the water of life!
As we come to the communion table this morning, let us prepare ourselves for the gentle lamb who shepherds us. Let us remember how he was led through a violent storm we call the cross, how he weathered that storm, and in weathering that storm is able to lead us through the toughest storms and send the gentle life giving rains to sustain us and lead us through.

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