This issue’s theme of water takes us to tsunami-afflicted Japan, a Norwegian fjord, the Sonoran desert, the glaciers of Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico. It invites us to step into the hold of slave ships, into mosques and synagogues and churches, and into the River Jordan. It calls us outdoors to pray for rain under a cloudless California sky, and to play and be cleansed with water at a funeral in the Catskill Mountains. It asks us to reflect on how we invite people to the waters of baptism, how we conserve the natural gift of water, and how we celebrate the seasons of creation in the church’s worship.
Water is life-giving, but it can also be a threat to life. This issue is therefore about water as gift and mercy but also as danger and a form of wilderness. Because of the necessity of water for all life, we cannot consider it without also paying due attention to its absence, both real and metaphorical. Water inspires song and plays a role in worship. But it is likewise true that drought, thirst, dryness, aridity—the need for water—call forth a response from creature to Creator, one that must somehow be expressed, whether by means of song, prayer, movement, poetry, or art.
Our last entry, “One Final Note,” considers water as the polyvalent sign of the Spirit’s powerful presence in our midst. Could it be that water is not only something in which we can play, but also an expression of God’s ecstasy in animating all of human existence?
To all our contributors: Thank you for the insights drawn from the wells of your experience, reflection, research, and wisdom. To our readers: Drink deeply!