Holy Presence, Holy Teacher

Holy Presence, Holy Teacher


By our nurture, by our culture every life is shaped to grow,

fed by long tradition’s learning, formed by mentors as we go;

tune our ears to hear the gospel questioning accepted thought,

ready to respect each other, see the gifts that each has brought.


Rock, paper, scissors, shoot! If you are like me, you will remember this hand game from childhood. If you are a little less like me, you may remember it from earlier today! For those unfamiliar with it, the game is played using a hand sign each to represent rock, paper, and scissors, and two players face off with their hands out. After counting off three, each player ‘shoots’ one of the hand signs. According to a damage inventory, certain signs ‘beat’ other signs — rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock. Best two out of three, of course, wins.


I have always felt that, if I played rock, paper, scissors, I would carry in a trump card, an unbeatable element against which none could stand. The longer I have owned my own home, and been responsible for the innumerable things that can go wrong there, the more sure I have become of my winning strategy. I would bring water to the game. Un. beatable. Boom. Because water dissolves paper into its pulpy components, and rusts the metal fabrication of scissors. And, given the time, water wears away stone to nothing. Not bragging or anything, but water wins every time.


So in our lives, who or what stands in the place of ‘water’ — the steady, relentless, direction-shaping influence that ends up changing the complexion of our souls? Will culture do water’s work? Will we be eroded by our upbringing and family? Will mentors and learning shape us? Might, somehow, all of these waters flow together and chart their course across the core of us? Will these waters tune our ears and hearts to hear the radical message of the gospel, bathe away the hardness from us and expose the tenderness? What is water in your life?


Because, friends, water wins every time.


—Leigh Anne

Auburn First Baptist Church