Here is today's opening paragraph at Sacred Space, the Irish Jesuit prayer site:
“Whenever I am able to pause, and allow myself a time of quiet, I can become conscious of God’s presence to me. I enter into the deepest reality of my life, where I am before the living God . . . . My prayer, then, always will have something of this reality about it. There is a great Presence there, approaching me, calling me by name. Whatever else I may do in my time of quiet, whatever theme I take for reflection and meditation, still the most essential reality is the Lord’s presence before me and within me. In the movement of a gentle breeze, in the colouring of the evening sky, or simply in the stillness of my heart, God is present. God utters my name, and upholds me.”
Reading this season’s introduction to the day’s prayer, I remember the element that consistently pulls me into God's presence: a spring of water.
There is a small town, not far from our home, named Boiling Springs. It is home to an artesian well spring from which 22 million gallons of water bubble every day. When I visit Boiling Springs I nearly always walk behind the Tavern and climb down a small, slippery slope to dip my fingers into the ice cold water. Then I make the sign of the cross upon my forehead. I love to fully submerge my feet, too.
When my brother-in-law came to town a couple of months ago, I sent him into the water to pray. He kindly complied, sitting on a ledge with his feet fully immersed. We left him there alone knowing that he would join us for lunch in the Boiling Springs Tavern when he concluded his prayer, which he did.
Last month, on a tour of The Grange, an historic property in Philadelphia, I came across another spring. My friend had requested prayer for her left arm that she had injured so I invited her to join me in praying at this spring for her arm.
Springs remind me of the gifts of God, for the people of God, as we say in the Episcopal liturgy. Springs surprise me. Who knows when we will see another one? Who has earned such a gift? Who could really say that they own the spring? Can we deplete them? How do people pollute them? How often have people mistreated the gifts a spring brings to us?