Clergy Letter August 17

Dear all,

There is an analogy to which I often return and that I’d encourage you to reflect upon (if you’ve not already heard me rabbit on about it!).

It’s a picture of two lakes – The Aral Sea and Blue Lake.

The Aral Sea (…which is a lake despite the name) lies between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. If you’re struggling to think where those two countries are then it might help to know that it is south of Russia, and kind of north of Iran (with Turkmenistan in between). If you’re still none-the-wiser then dust off your atlas or have a quick look on Google Maps!

It used to be one of the four largest lakes in the world, but it has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s. By 2007, it had declined to 10% of its original size. Here’s a picture of the Aral Sea in 1989 (on the left) and in 2008 (on the right).

The lake is drying up – it’s murky and becoming stagnant.

The other lake that I’d like to tell you about, on the other hand, is the world’s clearest lake. It is called Blue Lake. It has crystal clear waters.

Blue Lake is located in the top part of New Zealand’s South Island. I can’t say that I’ve ever visited, but would certainly love to one day, it looks beautiful:

So, why is it that the Aral Sea is drying up, while Blue Lake continues to have fresh, beautifully clear waters? Let me tell you…

The Aral sea is shrinking and becoming stagnant because it’s not got enough fresh water flowing into it – more water has been drained away than has flowed in. It is becoming drier and drier. It is not being refreshed.

Blue Lake is different. One of the reasons why the lake is so clear is because the water in the entire lake is replaced around every 24 hours. It’s constantly got water flowing in and flowing out, flowing in and flowing out.

I think that it is true that our lives, like these lakes, will reflect what flows in and out of us.

Jesus promises living water to those who come to him:

‘Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’

God longs that as we are filled with his unconditional love, his love also flows out of us – a constant cycle of flowing in and flowing out, flowing in and flowing out.

If we don’t allow God’s love to flow into our lives we dry up.

If we don’t flow out, letting God’s love to pour out from us, we can become stagnant.

It’s the only way we can truly love and be refreshed – a constant flow of the receiving and the giving out of God’s love.

I pray today that this love flows into you, and from its abundance it may also flow out of you.

With love,

(Team Vicar)