In the flow of the inland waters

While my Quaker lines eschewed all forms of ritual, their movement nevertheless also expressed an awareness of the mystery of water as they moved inland, as the naming of some of their Friends Meetings conveys: Black Creek, Pagan Creek, Goose Creek, Cedar Creek, Herring Run, Gunpowder (for Gunpowder Falls, with its series of rapids), Indian Spring, Sandy Spring, Patapsco, Little Falls, West River, South River, Bush River, Deer Creek, Pipe Creek, Monocacy, Dunnings Creek, West Branch, Crooked Run, Cane Creek, Deep River, Back Springs, Short Creek, Stillwater, Miami, Caesars Creek, Whitewater, Clear Creek, Blue River – the litany goes on, and with it, an image of water (Living Water, in New Testament terms) expressing the motion and working of Holy Spirit.

One may turn, too, to the angel in Revelation 22:1-2, as well: “And he showed me a pure river … On either side of the river, was there the tree of life.”

And, as the chorus of Robert Lowry’s 1864 hymn rings, drawing on that text, “Gather with the saints at the river, That flows by the throne of God.”

That’s why I named one collection of essays Stillwater.


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