From yesterday's post:
Fly fishing last summer in the Rio Grande near South Fork, the south fork of the Rio Grande, I reflected that I was standing in the same water, that a week or two later I might be drinking.
Standing in the middle of the Rio Grande in Colorado, pine trees swaying up the slope from the banks, mountain sides sweeping upwards on both banks, the smell of cool water, sage, and pine in the breeze, with patches of snow on the upper reaches, I thought to myself how different the same river appears over its long journey.
Months later I thought about how the Church is like the River. Starting fresh 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, small and vulnerable, much like the small rivulets that make their way down the slopes of Wolf Creek Pass joining together to form part of the Rio Grande.
But as she flows through time and space the river changes, and her surroundings change. Minerals and other waters flow in, vegetation and terrain change. And by the time she reaches my home in Laredo, she has carried tons of sediment, some contaminants, and massive amounts of water, giving drink to many towns and cities, farms, to domestic and wild animals. And she has picked up and filtered waste and debris.
Yet even with the debris, waste, and changes, she remains a thing of beauty. She still brings liquid life to those along her banks. She washes away the waste.
So like the Church, who picks up debris and contaminants, yet still continues to bring life, and to take away the waste of the world.
And neither the River nor the Church do this without help from above. The river must be filled with rain from the heavens. So too the church without God is just a dry and empty wash. But when she allows God to flow through her, however imperfectly she is a thing of great beauty, no matter the setting she finds herself in.