Pastoral Ponderings—Duckweed

Our new property has two small ponds on it.  The larger one, maybe 100 feet long and 30 wide, isn’t in too bad shape, but the smaller one is completely green with duckweed right now.  At least it’s a pretty green– but that still means it’s not a very healthy pond.  We took a little time over the long weekend to go out on the pond with our canoe, trying  clean it up a bit by starting to scoop off some of the duckweed with our old pool screen.  We didn’t have enough time to make a big dent, but we made some progress.

We quit when my brother and his crew arrived.  Karol got off the canoe first to go welcome them, and then I started trying to get the canoe in over a steeper part of the bank.  I figured I’d raise the front of the canoe up a bit to then beach it, by scooting as far back in the canoe as I could, rather than stepping out into the thick pond much to pull it in.  But that didn’t quite work out as planned.  I lost my balance and ended up in the muck anyway, and found out that under the green duckweed and the top layer of water is about two feet of not-so pretty black muck my feet were sinking into!

So my first swim in our pond was not as pleasant as I would have liked, but it reminded be how much of a mess a pretty surface can cover.  The pond has been untended for years, and surrounded by reeds, trees, bushes and weeds as it is, it’s no wonder the bottom of the pond is several feet think with rotting vegetation from the abundance of life that has fallen into the pond over the years.

How often do our lives end up like that little pond, pretty at first glance, but filled with the rot and decay of what was once vital, but is now lifeless decay?  Now we’ve got to remember that rot is a good thing—God’s creation as a system of recycling, using that which is lifeless to feed new growth—I’m eager to get some of that muck and organic matter into the poor soil of my garden!

But I understand that much of the mess of unhealthy ponds comes from a lack of oxygenation or aeration of the water, so that essential to the cure of a sick old pond is getting more air into the water.  In the New Testament, “air” is “pneuma”—the same word the Greek of the Bible uses for “Spirit.”  The heart of the cure for rot and decay, is more pneuma, more Spirit.   And isn’t that the same with our lives outside of the pond, too?

Our lives are always going through cycles of growth and vitality, as with the vibrant greens of the vegetation around and in our pond, interspersed with seasons of loss and brokenness—like the branches and leaves falling into the pond.

Are there weeds in our lives that function like duckweed, showing a need for more air/pneuma flow in the spirit?  Pumping more air/pneuma through the water helps ponds—so maybe a bit more pneuma pumping is needed in our spirits when we’re feeling stuck in the weeds!

“Chaos calls but all you really need, Is to just breathe…” is a part of the chorus in a song by Johnny Diaz called “Just Breathe”–  might be a clue to how to start…  Rev. Jim

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