Unmasking our thirst for God.

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As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1-2

Apparently many people on a typical North American diet no longer recognize thirst. They mistake it for hunger. Thirsty? Let’s eat!

Is it possible, we have also masked our thirst for God as well? I believe many of the desires of the soul meant to direct us into the Presence of God have been masked. Instead of interpreting the longings of our soul as an impulse to seek the Living God we have accepted substitutes to quickly cover the emptiness. Internet searches and coasting through the newsfeed deliver a quick hit to our brains and masks the longings for God.

And that’s a problem. The search for the flowing streams of God’s presence is sometimes and most often lengthy.

Slowing down.

Letting the tears flow.

Raising and listening to the questions.

Directing the accusations to the Cross.

Meditating on the Scriptural narratives of others who met God.

Waiting on God.

Being still before God.

Taking time. And most of us, including me, get antsy trying to be still. I’d like to quickly move past the tears, the questions, the accusations, the stories, and the waiting.

I would probably never be the author of Psalm 42, unless I was willing to sit, wait, listen, watch. I would have scared off the deer looking for refreshing water in the midst of a dry spell. I would have missed the metaphor God provided to make obvious what is unseen, but very real for me:

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

Jesus is not an absentee landlord.

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15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

 

Jesus holds it all together. Not only were all things created through Him and for Him, but He also remains connected and part of life — Jesus holds it all together. He is not an absentee landlord. This man Jesus who is the image of the invisible God, precedes Creation and now holds it all together! This is a magnificent declaration of Jesus’ supreme importance to life.

When I feel as if everything is falling apart — Jesus is holding it together. When I wonder if death and destruction is winning — I must remember that death has been defeated through Christ. These powers arrayed against the knowledge of God and the glory of God in creation, in people, and in the church have nothing on Him.

The universe is personal. It is personally connected to Jesus, yet it is a distinct reality. You and I can study all that is created as an entity separate from God — but the declaration of Scripture is that in the mind of God all things were created for Christ Jesus.

Jesus is supreme. Our lives, are held together by Jesus. Glory! to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, is to engage personally with the One who made you and knows you.

The Water School in Haiti

This past year I was introduced to The Water School and its activities in Haiti through the UBC Alumni magazine Trek.  Here is an excerpt introducing The Water School and the work of a UBC alum, Bradley Pierik, who is extending the SODIS approach beyond bottles to bags:

The Water School was founded by Robert Dell, a retired water chemist who ran Dell Tech Laboratories, a chemical regulatory compliance company, for 21 years. After a trip to Kenya in 2001, he began researching water treatment technologies that could be useful in Africa, and came across solar disinfection. The method had been studied extensively by a Swiss aquatic research institute (EAWAG), and after his own field work in Uganda, Dell made some further simplifications to the process. The Water School works in five countries, and maintains a “train-the-trainer” approach, so that teachers or other leaders promote the method to their own community.

As an undergraduate engineering student at University of Toronto, Pierik spent a summer in Africa working for a church organization and digging wells. The next year, while working at a large Canadian water treatment company, he met Dell, who later asked him to work for the Water School. He completed a thesis project on various aspects of the science of solar disinfection. At UBC he built a sunlight simulator and wrote his master’s thesis on the effectiveness of using plastic bags instead of bottles. The idea proved successful, and several other organizations that promote SODIS are now looking at using bags for treating water in disaster relief because they are easy to transport.

Pierik has studied many methods of disinfection, and often finds that great ideas work well in the lab but not in practice. His favourite part of his job is traveling to places like this and meeting the people who use the technology.

Read the Trek article.

Learn more about SODIS and The Water School.

Water Policy

Why study and develop water policy? Raul Pacheco-Vega writes,

If you consider that 85 per cent of the world lives in the driest half of the planet, that almost 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, that more than 900 million individuals still defecate in the open, and that water availability is expected to decrease whereas water consumption is estimated to grow by about 19 per cent by the year 2050, you can realize now why I’m concerned about improving ways in which we govern the precious liquid.

Read the whole article.