Tuesday, April 20, 2010


So, the theme of this blog was to be "finding grace in the pacific northwest," but aside from occasionally posted sermons it hasn't really turned out that way....until now!

Last week, Chris and I were poking around the Seattle neighborhood of Magnolia, really for no other reason that (a) we have this deck of Seattle neighborhood walks and we had a Magnolia walk we hadn't done yet and (b) the Magnolia walk had a bookstore and a bakery on it. We like both.

In the bookstore I stumbled upon the April issue of National Geographic. Pretty much the entire issue is devoted to water. There's even a section on "Sacred Waters" with photos of a Greek Orthodox baptism and a Mexican cenote among other examples. But of course, the coolest thing was the fold-out map, seen above, which now hangs in my office.

We call Earth "the blue planet" because it is so covered with water, but when we think of the vastness of Earth's water we usually think of the oceans. This map is different: it charts all the river systems of the earth, the veins of the earth. When depicted this way, we can see that even most of Earth's land is saturated with water!

Ok, so all this is obvious, I know. But the map hangs in my office now as a reminder that the same water in which I was baptized, the same water countless other people of myriad faiths have held sacred, have held to be a place where the divine omnipresence is especially present, that that water is EVERYWHERE.

So what does this have to do with the Pacific Northwest? Elsewhere in the NG issue there is a mapping of the relative water-stressed-ness of different regions of Earth. Guess which area has almost no water stress (relatively speaking)? Yep. Right here in el pacifico noreste.

I suppose it's unfair, and theologically suspect, to conclude that there's more divine presence here simply because there's more water here - though many a soul who has spent an afternoon gazing at the Puget Sound, with the frozen-water-capped Olympic mountains beyond, has been sorely tempted to do so.

But I will conclude this: If you want to find a reminder of grace in the Pacific Northwest, you don't have far to look, in almost any direction. Including, but not limited to, up.

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