December 10, 2012

Repentance, Renewal, Restoration

By Erica Grasse, a senior biology and environmental science double major from Chalfont, Pa.
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Repentance, Renewal, Restoration
DEVOTIONAL:

Power stroke, J-stroke, Pry, Sweep, Draw. A successful canoeing experience relies on a combination of these maneuvers, good communication and confidence using maps. May I also suggest avoiding eddies, leaning towards oncoming rocks and ruddering for quick turns are helpful. But in all reality, skip the jargon and recognize one thing: you are at the mercy of the water.

This summer I had the privilege of co-facilitating three weeks of canoeing with about a dozen adolescent boys. Within this time not only did I quickly come to develop a tolerance for high school humor, and an appreciation for a good night’s sleep, but I came to realize the power of water.

With upwards of ten hours a day spent on the water, I came to recognize my own strength, or rather, lack thereof. No matter how hard I pulled or how fast I paddled, the current was a larger determinate of my path and arrival time than my own might. It wasn’t until I finally learned to join the current did I come to see the river as a source of strength and renewal. The water became something to rely on. Through the routine of our days we came to praise our God who carried us — the tired, the restless, the expectant and the homebound.

This week’s Scriptures call us to identify the ways God renews our being. It invites us to participate in the changing of our minds: go beyond observation, acknowledge our weakness and open ourselves to the hope of restoration.

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Comments (11)

  1. Erica:
    Thanks for the powerful metaphor!

    Bronwyn December 10, 2012 |
  2. Thank you Erica for starting my day with such a beautiful image of trusting the flow of God’s current in my life. Your words were a gift to me today.

    Brenda Shelly December 10, 2012 |
  3. Hi, Erica! Gloria’s mom here inspired by that you wrote! Thanks so much and have a great last week!

    RuthE December 10, 2012 |
  4. Erica. Giving over to the water’s overwhelming strength indeed. Go with the flow. Perfect advice. Recognizing this is half the battle. It’s hard to ‘give over’ direction. We want to be in charge. But are we, really? If honest, no we’re not.

    Debbie Lackowitz December 10, 2012 |
  5. Thank you, Erica, for sharing your reflections from your time on the water. I appreciate how your experience and the texts come together to reveal a profound truth. Thanks for making the effort and taking the time to share it!

    Gwen GZ December 10, 2012 |
  6. Hi Erica ~
    Water! A perfect topic for your devotion. Thanks for a motivating start on this Monday morning.
    I’m sending peaceful thoughts your way as you prepare for finals this week.

    Melissa Kinsey December 10, 2012 |
  7. Thanks you for such beautiful imagery; water holds much in life for us–our baptism, and yet water can be destructive too, as we think of recent hurricanes (Katrina, Sandy.) Your phrase “It wasn’t until I finally learned to join the current did I come to see the river as a source of strength and renewal” is important. Thanks for the reminder.

    Ann Whitaker December 10, 2012 |
  8. At the end of a very busy semester, the image of the river carrying us — “the tired, the restless, the expectant and the homebound” — into Christmas break and beyond sounds very inviting, indeed. Thanks, Erica

    Jim Brenneman, GC President December 10, 2012 |
  9. Erica! Woohoo! A devotional related to paddling. I spend a lot of time paddling on local lakes and also know the power of water. Floating in my kayak, fighting against the wind and waves, can be cathartic and humbling at the same time. It can also symbolize my life with God and scripture. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it’s spray in your face hard work. Thank You!

    Beth A Sholly December 10, 2012 |
  10. Thank you Erica! The water and river imagery is very powerful and engaging! Deep invitation for reflection here…

    Frances December 10, 2012 |
  11. Appreciated your thought-provoking, “right-on” devotional, Erica. Keep it up!

    Betsy Heavener December 11, 2012 |