by David Keith

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/31/14

A few years ago, we lived in a home that had a Japanese Koi pond.  There were seven very large fish in the pond.  One day I went outside to feed the fish and, to my amazement, two were floating on top of the water and the others were huddled very close to the top.  They had congregated by the waterfall, but there was nothing coming out.  During the night, the waterfall that provided oxygen for the fish had stopped working.
I immediately called our “pond guy” who cleaned the pond twice a year.  It was really past time for its cleaning, but I did not realize that waiting could affect the inner workings of the ecological system. Because the algae had grown with such thickness on the pump, no water was passing through.  So, no water for oxygen—no life!
All of us, no matter our station in life, need to have our souls oxygenated.  We need to breathe, live, to be what we are intended to be.  Yet, sometimes the filtering process gets so clogged with daily debris that it becomes almost impossible to function the way that God would have us.  We become so dependent on self that we often lose sight that it is God who purifies, cleanses, and makes us whole.  Our lives are to be vessels through which God flows and we are often too clogged for that to happen.
Who is cleaning your pond and how is it being cleaned?  For some, it is reading a good book that gives inspiration and motivation, for some it is visiting with a friend, helping a stranger, giving an encouraging word to someone who may not look like they need it, but really do.  Maybe it is through a call to someone sick, a workday for Habitat, the planting of a garden to share with others.  All of these are good, but the real source comes from the worship of God.
William Temple wrote “to worship is to quicken the conscience by the Holiness of God, to feed the mind with the Truth of God, to purge the imagination with the Beauty of God, to open the heart to the Love of God, and to devote the will to the Purpose of God.”  Worship is important!  As we sing music, as texts inspire and move us beyond the mundane to the infinite, as we hear the Word of God expounded from the pulpit, it is my hope for all that we carefully choose who cleans our ponds (souls), keeps our filters clear, and sets us to the task which God has to fulfill in His time.  Then, we can truly navigate the seas of life with meaning.