To be honest, I’ve come to many Water Communion services empty-handed. Forgotten what Sunday it was, or too busy to think about “special water” to collect. Especially when the kids were really little. It’s why during my internship, back when my kids were 2 and 4 – I decided we should order a bunch of little bottles with the Water Communion date on them and pass them out throughout the summer. Maybe if there was a visual cue, we’d all have an easier time at the remembering.
Even with the bottles (that we now offer here at Foothills), it’s often been a struggle. To bring the vial, to remember to collect the water, to bring the water back, to remember the water on the Sunday. Instead of a grounding ceremony celebrating our wide welcome – as Water Communion is intended – it has sometimes felt like just one more opportunity to feel unprepared and out-of-sorts.
After a few years of leading Water Communion, however – I’ve started to think differently about these services. I’ve started to see the ceremony as a lot less about the specific water someone has or has not brought, and a lot more about the communion.
The lines filled with people of all ages, some first timers, some who have been remembering and forgetting their water for decades, all moving together towards the front, sometimes tentatively, sometimes confidently, and finding there a bowl where others have shared, and then pouring in some of their own (we always have a little extra to share if you forget). Watching how – magically, their added water both changes what is already there, but also simply becomes a part. Singing together, being together, feeling connected to each other, to these traditions of Unitarian Universalism, to the earth, and to life itself.
We are living in these times where it feels like so much is asked of us that we feel unprepared for, and out-of-sorts. And yet, this feeling does not lessen the need to act. In the practice of Water Communion, we remember that in community, when we offer ourselves, just as we are, we already have everything we need. Everything we need to do the next right thing, to take the next leap forward, to care for ourselves, and for this planet.
Water Communion is a tangible experience of this lesson, but it’s really the practice of our church and our faith all year long. Showing up together, sharing our gifts (just as they are, today), the willingness to be a part, the creation of something more beautiful, more powerful, together. Creating together a safe place where we can be “unprepared and out of sorts” in ways that help us grow, and change. As Rabbi Alan Lew says it, “The time of transformation is always upon us. The world is always cracking through the shell of its egg to be born.” In community we are like midwives for each other, and for this world – cheering each other on, providing support, becoming still more alive, together.
This Sunday we’ll be kicking off the start of Fall at Foothills with one service for our whole community. 10 am. Poudre High School. Bring your water, or don’t. Mostly, just bring yourselves.