Water is Sacred! That’s the Lord’s refrigerator!
Mary praises God – The Magnificat
Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.” Luke 1:46-56 CEB
People came from throughout the country in solidarity with those who live in the Columbia Watershed declaring, “Water is Sacred!” It feels encouraging to learn that someone else cares to better your circumstances; that someone cares about your water. When your family fishing grounds have been flooded over. When the temperature of the river water is rising, so that fish are hiding in deep holes instead of swimming in their usual riffs. When anglers find parasites on the outside and worms curled up in the meat of the fish. When chemicals are causing mutations. When few salmon make it past dams to the spawning ground.
Mary sings with joy and amazement about the grace of God who chooses a Hebrew teenager to bear the Son of God into the world. She isn’t royalty or upper class, yet she is chosen over those women and men. Mary’s song infers that by choosing her, God’s justice has turned the tables on the rich and powerful. Embodied in her is a gift of the continuing mercy that God promised generations ago to her ancestors.
Corbett Wheeler, Clerk of Session at on the Nez Perce Reservation in North-Central Idaho provided leadership for this fall’s Spirit of the Salmon – Water, Culture, and Justice in the Columbia Watershed, an eco-justice immersion and its successor, Blessing the Waters of Life: Justice and Healing for our Watersheds. He remarked, “It is good knowing that others are concerned about the dams and water and the salmon. That has always been something with us (the Nez Perce). That is the Lord’s refrigerator, you know.”
Prayer: God of sacred water and just living, hear our prayer for the healing of the lakes, rivers and streams. Restore the health of the fish and creatures that live in your waters. Lead us to live with care for your creation. Amen.
Corbett Wheeler serves on the Native American Consulting Committee for the PC(USA). He was raised in a strict Presbyterian family on the Nez Perce Reservation. His dad’s grandfather was a minister, and the family have all been leaders in Presbyterian Churches.
Pictured to the right is Corbett Wheeler.
Pictured above are: Jeannie (Wheeler) Strong, Kathy Keener, Sam Davis, Ida Ann (Wheeler) Pinkham and Corbett Wheeler.