by Kelly Latimore
Harlan Hubbard, a painter and naturalist, along with his partner Anna, spent 48 years living right on the banks of the Ohio River. When another local river town church asked him to paint a mural of the Jordan River above their baptismal, he instead painted a picture of their own Ohio River instead.
I think Harlan was telling this small church, and the Church at large, that this is their sacred river. He was saying that as beautiful as the Jordan river and the Holy Land is, and as important its historical significance is for us and many religions, if flying the several thousand mile journey, or seeking out these images and artifacts, are the only tangible signs that make us feel the closest we could possibly be to Jesus, then we are missing the point. And more broadly, that the reason the Holy Land is holy is not because of the historical significance of that place, and what has happened there, but because the holy land is a part of all the world.
For those in Pomeroy, or In Ohio, this is your Holy River. The Baptism of Christ, its tension of death and life, of calm and the storm, flows into all that you do. As St. Nicholas, the Patron saint of Mariners, became a sign of Christ’s friendship and love in Myra (a Greek port town) may you too be a sign to those who work on, play, fish and live near these waters.