The River of Life

A RIVER OF LIFE (Adapted from Ezekiel 47)

My guide showed me a stream that had its origin in the sanctuary, but flowed out from there, under the threshold, all round the outside of the building, and finally found its course in the wider world. A ma􀀞 was trying to measure the river. Using a measuring rod he calculated a certain distance of the river’s flow, and asked me to wade across the stream at this point. I did so and the water came up to my ankles. He measured a further span downstream, and asked me to cross again. Now the water came up to my knees. A third time he measured off a span of the river, even further downstream, and at this point the water reached my waist. When he made his final measurement, and asked me to wade across again, it was impossible. By this point the river had become so deep and fast-flowing that I couldn’t have crossed it. I was out of my depth

Only when I realized that I couldn’t measure the flow of the river of life, and nor could he, did I see the river from a different perspective. Now. it was no longer about how we could measure it out or cross it. Now the focus was entirely upon the river itself. I saw what the river was really about. I saw the fish swimming in it, healthy and full of life, and fishermen on the riverbanks. I noticed that the marshes and salty lagoons along the course of the river came to fresh life when the living stream flowed through them, but that where this flow was blocked or denied or resisted, they remained lifeless and stagnant. I saw that the riverbanks were lined with many different trees, each bearing fruit in its season, and with leaves that provided medicinal cures. And all this life, I came to understand, was sustained because the flow of the river of life had its source in the very heart of God, the Life-giver.

      God of love, show us our place in this world

      as channels of your love

      for all the creatures of this earth,

      for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.

      Enlighten those who possess power and money

      that they may avoid the sin of indifference,

      that they may love the common good, advance the weak,

      and care for this world in which we live.

      The poor and the earth are crying out.

      O Lord, seize us with your power and light,

      help us to protect all life,

      to prepare for a better future,

      for the coming of your Kingdom

      of justice, peace, love and beauty.

      Praise be to you! Amen.