“The earth belongs to God and all that fills it, for the Creator established its foundations upon the oceans and upon rivers that made it firm.” (Psalm 24:1-2)
I’m really enjoying being a part of the Congregational Church of Soquel Green Team. Our leaders, Steve and Jeannie Land, have asked each one of us to take on certain responsibilities—mine is education, especially where environmental education and Christian faith cross paths. And do they ever cross paths! In so many ways, in fact, it’s hard to know where to begin. Scripture shares an ongoing love affair with the earth, and nowhere is that more evident than in The Book Psalms. Throughout, the earth’s water is a prevailing theme. So, it’s not surprising that water continues to make a powerful impression throughout the Bible, including Jesus’ description of himself as “Living Water” (John 4:13-14).
But regardless, as metaphor, poetic image, or natural resource, water leads us back to God—God’s generosity, justice, and peace seem to be contained in each drop. In short, it’s hard to use water—taste, touch, or immerse oneself in it—and not be reminded of God’s love. The opening words of Psalm 24 serve as a good example. Water is foundational to God’s act of creativity. Like the beach community we live in, “The Creator established its foundation upon the oceans and upon rivers that made it firm.” Protecting this vital natural resource is an act of civic responsibility, yes, but also an act of faith.
On Saturday, May 4, 2013, I joined four other members of our Green Team, along with over 100 other local volunteers, to participate in the annual Coastal Watershed Council’s “Snap Shot Day.” The purpose of the event is to collect samples—a “snap shot,” if you will—of water quality throughout Santa Cruz County. Things like temperature, dissolved oxygen, transparency, and pH were measured. This data helps to monitor and protect the integrity of our coastal environment. Our team was assigned work along our own Soquel Creek, an important part of the local watershed that has been flowing past our church since the day we were founded in 1868.
Soquel Creek is a source of life for our community, connecting us with the mountains above and the magnificent Pacific Ocean that defines our geography and, in many respects, the unique regional culture we share in Santa Cruz. But let me suggest that the health and well-being of Soquel Creek connects us also to our faith in God, the very thing that makes us whole, providing for us each moment a sense of meaning and a source of life.