The reason we bless the Red River.

There is the temptation in Christianity somehow to  separate the divine and spiritual, from the created world, reducing the world around us (and specifically nature) to something be extraneous to humanity’s salvation.

The Church, from even the earliest times, fought against such ideas and concepts, always asserting that the whole of creation is held in sacred trust by humanity, and that our communion and relationship with our Creator is dependent upon our stewardship of all that the Lord has blessed us with.

This correlation between creation, humanity and salvation is so beautifully made manifest in the feast of the Theophany, Jesus Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan. When, by the hand of John the Baptist the Lord entered the waters, the created world of flora and fauna, animals, birds, insects, and the elements was renewed with the purpose of being part of the Lord’s saving work of vanquishing death and destruction, hunger and poverty, violence and oppression.

The Red River has recently become not only the dumping ground for sewage and waste, but also, tragically, a graveyard for Tina Fontaine, and many of the most vulnerable and innocent people of our city. What might have been a clear and life-giving source of life has now become a stinking and blasphemous image of our culture’s disregard for life.

Yet it is into this mess of polluted and desecrated water that Christ descends when the Cross of our Lord is plunged into its depths at the service of the Great Blessing of the Waters. Our Lord came to change the very nature of a broken and estranged world, by humbling himself, by entering humanity’s condition, by his voluntary death on the Cross, to change its heart, to make it a source of mercy, grace and life once again.

Knowing that it is offered to us to know Him to be in communion with Him, let us take up our Cross, renewing our baptism; and let us reconcile ourselves to our Lord and  to His creation. If we cannot see His saving acts and love in the world He gave us, there is no way we will be able to see them in our families, friends, co-workers, and ultimately in our enemies.

We will be blessing the Red River at 123 Burrows Ave. (where Burrows meets the Red River) at 11:00 am on Saturday (Jan. 10th).