The Rector’s Message for the Week of July 11, 2021

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Rector Turner
The Reverend Canon Carl Turner

Dear Friends,

The storm on Thursday was quite remarkable and I have never seen such torrential rainfall in New York! I was sent some amazing images of the subway system turning into underground caverns with waterfalls and lakes! Meanwhile, in other parts of the United States, people braced themselves for yet another heatwave; it certainly has been a strange year in more ways than one.

Water is a sign of life and appears throughout the Bible. Significantly, it features at the very beginning in the Book of Genesis, and at the end in the Book of Revelation. In Genesis, God’s Spirit hovers over the waters. And in the Book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem has the River of Life running through it. If I ask the choristers what percentage of the human body is made up of water, they are quick to tell me that the average is 60%. The younger generation seem to always carry water around with them which is so different to my own upbringing.

Water is life. It brings life to the earth; it keeps us alive; and in the womb we are protected by it for 9 months until ‘the waters break’ and a child is born. The thanksgiving prayer over the waters of baptism reminds us that water is not only used for washing but it also represents liberation and even death and resurrection:

We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life. We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.

So, the next time it rains in New York, I am going to thank God for the gift of water and all it symbolizes.

Written during the First World War in the trenches, here is Edward Thomas’ poem titled ‘Rain.’


Your Priest and Pastor,



by Edward Thomas, written in 1916

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying to-night or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.