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Week 7

The seventh and final reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Stephen Larson, the interim pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva, English-speaking congregation. In this reflection, he narrates the “watery Lenten journey” of his congregation, inspired by the EWN’s Seven Weeks for Water. His congregation chose water as the theme for all the 7 weeks of Lent, including Holy Week through Easter. You can find all the worship resources used by this congregation during their Lenten journey on the EWN website.
Week 7

Enactment of John 9, 1-41, at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva.

The seventh and final reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Stephen Larson, the interim pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva, English-speaking congregation. In this reflection, he narrates the “watery Lenten journey” of his congregation, inspired by the EWN’s Seven Weeks for Water. His congregation chose water as the theme for all the 7 weeks of Lent, including Holy Week through Easter. You can find various worship resources used by this congregation during their Lenten journey on the EWN website.

A Lenten Journey: From the wilderness of drought to the springs of living water

For the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva’s English-speaking Congregation (ELCG-ESC), Lent became a season to engage in the Ecumenical Water Network’s emphases on water, or the lack thereof, through their Lenten campaign of Seven Weeks for Water. The worship planning team examined the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) texts to explore where water imagery might be found and brought to symbolic, liturgical expression in Sunday worship. The texts ranged from the arid wilderness of temptation to the living waters offered to a Samaritan woman to Jesus’ tears at Lazarus’ tomb to an upper room foot-washing to the watery Easter Vigil texts of creation, flood, Exodus and Isaiah’s invitation to everyone who thirsts to come to the waters. The worship planning team centred on the Biblical image of a bucket from John 4:11 where the Samaritan woman observes that Jesus has no bucket – within worship, the image became at times an empty bucket of hope and at other times a bucket spilling over with living water.

To continue reading, please download the reflection (pdf, 520 KB)

What comes next? Some thoughts and questions for reflection:

Holy Week 2014

Now, let your imagination and faith-full creativity join the journey! With the watery imagery of this Lenten journey in mind, now it becomes your turn:

  • What water symbols and images (or the absence thereof) come to your mind as you reflect on the familiar texts of Holy Week?

Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday, foot-washing is a watery image of servanthood and the commandment to love. John reports that it is the festival of the Passover (John 13:1), so what is in the background: tears of grief over the death of the first born? waters of the Red Sea yielding before the liberation of Hebrew slaves? the death by drowning of Egyptian troops?

Good Friday

On Good Friday, the Passion according to St. John is proclaimed. Jesus on the cross whispers, “I thirst.” Is this the image for the day that takes the community into solidarity with those who thirst today for clean water, rather than contaminated water; who thirst for available water rather than a several-hour journey to a stream or faucet?

Then a few verses later at John 19:34, a soldier’s spear proves the death of Jesus as water and blood flow from his side. To this day many churches direct that water be added to the chalice at the eucharist in remembrance of this mingled imagery of life administered with the blood of Christ in the cup of salvation.

The Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is the liturgy of the Church Year. This was the time when the ancient church washed people into Jesus’ death and resurrection at baptism. The four-part liturgy begins with the blessing of a new fire and lighting of a Paschal Candle. It then proceeds into the liturgy of readings where biblical stories of salvation using water are heard: the waters of creation, Noah’s ark upon the flood, Hebrew slaves walking through the Red Sea on dry land before waters wash over the Egyptian soldiers and Isaiah’s invitation: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” (Isaiah 55:1)

Biblical imagery of salvation in the form of waters spills over into the baptismal font – the third part of this liturgy – as new children of God are washed in the grace-full waters of baptism. In the fourth part, all are fed at the Table of the Lord with the bread of life and cup of salvation in the first eucharist of Easter. Then they are sent back out into the world to share the living water of the Risen Christ:  “Go in peace. Serve the Lord.”

 

Please note: Opinions expressed in Biblical reflections or background resources do not necessarily reflect EWN and WCC policy.