Over the last couple of weeks, I have had conversations about canoe trips that I have led over the years. There were a handful of three-day, two-night family camping trips down the Saco River with people of all ages. And then there were the much longer trips down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway with two different youth groups. The trips with the youth from Beverly, MA were two weeks in length, and the trips with the youth from New London, NH were one-week trips.
They were wonderful trips that exposed youth to the relatively unspoiled wilderness areas of northern Maine, and also allowed them to experience the magnificence of God's Creation in a very powerful way. As you paddle down an eight-mile long lake or down a winding river surrounded by nothing by wilderness you are completely immersed. There are no sounds other than the dip of your paddle, the breeze in the trees, and the wildlife. If you allow yourself to be still and silent you can hear the God Song.
It was hard for the youth to give up their modern conveniences and their devices in the beginning of the trip, but within a couple of days they did not miss them. It turns out that a group of friends sitting around a campfire is a suitable substitute for hours of texting.
One of the things that I tried to teach the youth was how to read the water. When paddling across a lake, look for the signs of wind. When paddling down the river, read the way the current flows, look for curls and eddies, look for fast water and slow water, deep water and shallow. Reading the water would enable them to navigate more easily and travel safely. Needless to say ... some were better than others. I remember coming around a bend and seeing two youth standing in the middle of the river. I asked them where their canoe was and they pointed down ... submerged.
Water has its own energy. It is living and breathing. It is a powerful force.
This Sunday in worship, we will be exploring the power of water. We will not be taking a trip down the Allagash or the Saco. Instead, we will sit by an ancient well and learn about Living Water. Join us at 8:00 AM (informal, paperless) or 10:00 AM (traditional). All are welcome! Join us!
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072