It cleanses, nourishes, redeems, and heals. It is symbolic and significant in our lives and in our faith. The blessing of water is God's gift to us, and its abundant presence in our world is a constant reminder of our baptism, of the eternal life we are granted through Christ. Photographs by United Methodists from various areas accompany Sophia Agtarap as she reflects on how water connects us with our brothers and sisters around the world.
(Location: Nashville, TN)
Sophia Agtarap, United Methodist Communications: "The same waters that course through the rivers and streams in Africa and in Asia and in South America are the same ones that we play in here in the United States. We are all so interconnected that there is no way that we can say that our lives are so separate from the brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. And just like our United Methodist connection allows us to be connected to different projects and different organizations around the world that work in relief and aid, we can say the same for the waters that we drink.
William Willimon once wrote that in the New Testament, baptism means everything that water means. So when we think about water, we think about life, death, renewal, refreshment, cleansing.
We see the work that water has done in canyons and it's carved out these beautiful shapes and paths. It has smoothed out rocks that we find on the beach. It refreshes dry land. When the waters of baptism become evident in our own lives, the rough places are smoothed out, and we are remade as well. And this is God's gift to us.
So when someone is baptized into The United Methodist Church, oftentimes a pastor will say, 'Remember your baptism and be thankful.' And this really is a call for us to remember our own baptism and the covenant that God made with us. And water is so abundant here in the United States, at least in the Western world, and I think we take that for granted. But because of that abundance, we have reminders of baptism everywhere we look.
And our involvement in water ministries across the globe really is an example of our faith in action as United Methodists. We don't just care about reading scripture, but we care about what that does in our lives and in the lives of others. And being involved in outreach ministries that bring safe, potable water to communities is one way of building relationships with our brothers and sisters in other parts of the globe and is a way that we show the love of God that has worked through us to other people.
And every time I dip my toes into the ocean or play in a puddle or hear the rain fall that again is a reminder that we have this invitation just to newness of life, and we are given this grace from God that is so abundant and so wide and so deep and as far as the eye can see."
Learn more about what The United Methodist Church teaches on baptism.
This video was first published on October 14, 2014. Media contact is Fran Walsh.