Self Determination
read by Mike Weber

“The river flows,
 however slowly, to the sea.”
               —W. E. Orchard, D.D.

It has no choice!

Called by something greater than itself—
a grace and gravity it cannot resist,
a destination given at birth—
it moves inexorably to its end.

How strange, then, that I resist the call,
moving upstream against the current,
seeking a destination of my own choosing,
a purpose of my own making.

How absurd!  this illusion of self-determination.
A river cannot run uphill!
Neither can I run from God.

My only determination
is to choose the kind of river I will be.

Will I bring death?
an open sewer of toxic waste,
a raging flood of anger,

Or life?
giving drink to children,
watering fields to feed the hungry,
reflecting moonlight on still waters
        to delight the eyes of lovers
        strolling along the bank.

Yet, even this determination is beyond my powers.
For in the course of my life
I have done both—
brought death and given life—
sometimes unwittingly, often intentionally.

Weak of will I turn to you,
the One from whom I run
and to whom I must return.

“Renew the font at my headwaters,” I pray,
that out of my heart may flow
streams of living water.”

swept on by the current of your love,
I will run, without pride or regret,
        ever downward to the sea.

© July7, 2011 by Rev. Michael A. Weber
For permission to reprint, please contact the author at

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