Note: This ritual combines fresh water with water from the previous year that has been boiled and filtered. The combined water is poured over the hands into the common bowl.
Minister: The ancient Greek philosopher Heracltus of Ephesus is famous for one belief. He taught his students that “change” is certain and because things always change, he declared, we can never step twice into the same stream.
So too, our congregation today differs from the congregation that gathered water here last year, and the year before that. And yet, last year is still in our collective memory, and the year before, and the year before that.
It is our tradition to mix in some water saved from our previous year’s Water Ceremony, adding it to this year’s gathered waters. In that way, the past is carried on with the present. Our past is always with us. A portion of the water in this bowl was gathered in our first Water Ceremony.
So it is with generations. Each new child brings new ideas and new perceptions to our community. Those who help our children grow—our teachers—are the bridge between the old and new. And so it is fitting that we call forward our teachers, who guide our children to the house of tomorrow, and bless their hands for this sacred work. As we ask this year's teachers and assistants to gather at the back of the sanctuary, we prepare to bless their work, and combine the water of the past with the water of today.
DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (DRE): As the teachers gather in back, we ask the children to join them.
Children, please bring your teachers forward for the blessing of the hands: read list of teachers and classes
As the children bring their teacher to the front, the teacher will hold both hands over the “new” water bowl. A drop or two of the “Old” water will be poured over their hands as the minister says: “Through your hands we create promise for tomorrow.”
MINISTER: Please rise in body or spirit for the blessing.
DRE: Today we begin our year of Religious Education (Congregation repeats)
DRE: Not with teaching, but with blessing. (Congregation repeats)
MINISTER: We, the congregation, (Congregation repeats)
MINISTER: Commission our teachers and classroom assistants (Congregation repeats)
MINISTER: to your task of care and challenge. (Congregation repeats)
DRE: May your classes be a joy. (Congregation repeats)
DRE: May they be spiritually fulfilling, (Congregation repeats)
DRE: May they be places of growth. (Congregation repeats)
MINISTER: Grow in knowledge (Congregation repeats)
MINISTER: Grow in wisdom (Congregation repeats)
MINISTER: Grow in boldness. (Congregation repeats)
DRE: For it is in giving that we receive (Congregation repeats)
DRE: and in using our talents that we ourselves learn. (Congregation repeats)