Thursday, July 09, 2009

The river of life

Today’s Reading: Acts 3:21 (NIV)

[Peter said,] 21 “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.”

Good morning!

When I was a little girl in grade school, my music teacher taught us a song of about the Erie Canal. It’s funny how a few words and a melody stays with you through the years. Do you remember the words? It was written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen after the Erie Canal converted from “mule power” to “engine power.” The canal runs through the cities of Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. Fifteen miles was about all a mule could do in a day to pull the heavy barges down the channel. Once the boats became “self-propelled,” they could move much faster from city to city.

I stood on top of a low bridge overlooking the Erie Canal lock last week while visiting Rochester, New York. For folks who hitched rides on the barges that floated along the canal, they would be forced to duck their heads when passing underneath the bridges. As we drove in the car to the lock that morning, we reminisced about the time-honored folk song that we learned in school, teaching us about the rich tradition and history of the infamous Erie Canal. Sing the words of the chorus with me:

Low bridge, everybody down! Low bridge, for we’re coming to a town.

And you’ll always know your neighbor, and you’ll always know your pal,

if you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

We walked onto the tiny fishing pier near the lock. I watched a gentleman play with an electronically controlled toy sailboat floating along the water’s edge. I photographed a family of ducklings, obediently following their mother as she climbed the muddy banks from the river onto the grass. Two of the tiny ducklings kept sliding in the mud, falling back into the water, eventually finding some solid traction with their webbed feet. I imagine pulling the mules down the canal each day would have been a very slippery and muddy job indeed.

Time passes as we travel down life’s canal. The barges do not stay in one place very long. They are continually moving, carrying much needed supplies to all the people. There is a distinct rhythm and motion at the water’s edge, for even the water flows in rhythmic motion. The prophets recognized and spoke of God’s perfect plan for the world. The Father fashioned the universe with His very own hands and breathed new life into its being. With one holy movement, we begin our journey back home, to the One who draws us closer to Him. Our walk is filled with life's rhythm and motion; we find ourselves getting pretty muddy along the banks as we pass through the narrow places; the locks of our lives. Sometimes we have to duck to avoid the low bridges; even as the river continues to move forward. We are coming to a time when the Father will restore the earth just as He has promised to do. There will be a day when we will see Him face to face in all His glory.

Fifteen miles is not very far to go when you know you’ve got someone special waiting to meet you there. Our heavenly home is just a breath away. Come join me today! Let's take a ride together on the river of life.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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