Wet theology

IMG_2195Vatn á erindi við guðfræði og guðfræðin erindi við vatnið. Norrænt guðfræðiþing hófst í kvöld og fjallar um stjórnmál í guðfræð og guðfræði í stjórnmálum. Mér var falið að flytja opnunarfyrirlesturinn í hátíðasal háskólans. Og það er mikill heiður sem ég er þakklátur fyrir. Hluti úr innganginum er hér á eftir. Viðfangsefnið var vatn í guðfræði og trúartúlkun samtímans.

Water is all around us and in us. Without it we could not live at all. And, of course, water has a function in the life of the Church. Baptizing is my favorite pastoral task and speaks to me of blessing and quality of life. In baptism crystal clear water is poured into a bowl. Water trickles down from the head of the infant and beams of light are often reflected in the drops flying. Clean water in the brightness of the moment signals cleanliness and holiness.

 

In the baptismal ritual in Iceland Luther’s prayer has been recited for centuries – and still is -, relating the primal waters with water of the moment, granting of God´s presence, the Spirit:

 

„Send your Spirit over this water of baptism, just as, in the beginning, you created the light and life with your Word, and your Spirit was moving over the face of the waters.“

 

We drink water, use it for bathing, enjoy the aesthetic experiences by the lake, brooks and rivers. Some of us also enjoy the power of the oceanic waves and feel deep connectedness with water. We may have some baptismal theology on our own and may be aware of the water-part in the Eucharist also. But what about a theology of water?

 

One might say that the Hebrew/Christian Bible is earthbound and wet. But systematic theology has been rather dry for centuries! Water does not seem to be a major theological theme in classical theology countrary to the attention to water in Scripture. It is about time that water became a real theological theme outside books on liturgy and manuals for the ministry?