Skip to main content

Featured Post

11-14-19 - New Heavens/New Earth

(You can listen to this reflection here. Today's scripture passage is here.)

Today, let’s move from apocalyptic predictions to the larger context in which the end of things in this world exist. In one of the readings from the Hebrew Bible set for Sunday, a beautiful prophecy in Isaiah, God announces: “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.” This passage gives voice to the yearning for peace and security which should be the birthright of every man, woman and child – and animal – on this planet. It articulates beautifully the hope of a restored creation living in harmony:

I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime…

Reading that, I can’t help but think of all who have lost loved ones to the epidemic of gun violence in our country, as well as victims of other kinds of violence. I think of families decimated by bombings in Syria, Iraq; by gang terror in Honduras; of mothers fleeing that violence only to have their children taken away from them on our borders. The sound of weeping never quite dies away.

Think of the promise of security and work and rest envisioned in this prophecy:
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat…

This is true peace, when each person can live safely in her own home, bringing up his children to thrive in trust. This is the world God says he is bringing into being. This is the promise we are invited to participate in making real.

What do you long for when you think of God making a new heavens and a new earth?
What aspect of life in this world do you feel called to help renew? Where do you want to put your energies? Start by praying about that area, and imagining yourself making a difference, in the power of the Spirit. What do you see yourself doing or saying? Keep inviting God into it.

I will keep working and praying for the healing of our planet and its creatures, and homes for all people. “They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.”

I believe in the power of love to transform and convert the most evil heart. I have to, despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence is not more powerful than the power and the promise of God. God is creating the new heavens and the new earth – and we are here at the beginning. Every day.

To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereSunday’s readings are  here.


Popular posts from this blog

12-10-19 - Spiritual Leaders

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)
What do you think a holy man or woman should look like? What should be the markers of "success" for spiritual leaders? This is what Jesus asks the crowds about how they viewed John the Baptist. "What did you go out there to the desert to look at? Were you just spiritual tourists gawking at the latest guru? Did you think you were going to see a smooth-talking, well-dressed leader, get a little charge, and leave your life unchanged?"

Advent is a good time to examine our spiritual motivations, what is it we are truly yearn for, why we engage or disengage from spiritual community. It is easy to become disenchanted with church and clergy - or to expect too much. Today, let's do a little inventory. When we can name our expectations, we can better manage them.

What are your expectations of your spiritual community? When you are disappointed or disaffected, what is the cause? Do you communicate…

12-5-19 - Good Tree/Good Fruit

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)

John the Baptizer lays into those who wear their religion on their sleeves, but do not allow their hearts and behaviors to change. And his invitation to true repentance comes with a bite: “Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Later, Jesus uses the same metaphor, saying that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree good fruit. It seems that judgment awaits us, and we will be judged by the fruit our lives bear.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, the fourth century Bishop of Myra in modern-day Turkey. Legends about the goodness and generosity of St. Nicholas abound, and over time became conflated with the legend of the "Bishop of the North Pole," Santa Claus. Santa is also known for gift-giving – with conditions: "He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice / gonna find out who’s …

12-11-19 - Greatest and Least

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)
We have spent quite a few days in this space thinking about John the Baptist – who he was, why he was the way he was, what impact he had. Many people thought he was the Messiah, or an incarnation of the prophet Elijah – until Herod imprisoned and later had him executed at the whim of his step-daughter. John truly was a holy man, and Jesus speaks of him as such:  “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.”

And then he says something even more extraordinary:  “…yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

What was that about valleys being lifted up and mountains brought low, the lowly being exalted and the “mighty cast down from their thrones?” Here is Jesus, articulating again that equalizing quality of the realm of God – that equalizing which was so challenging to people in his own day, and has remained so in the thousands of years since.

To say …