This is the page that links to odd thoughts I've had about faith. It's liable to quick changes and odd turns of thought and weird linkages that don't really always hang together.

December 13, 1998

Water in the Desert


Dearest God, who sends your rain in quiet, constant whisper, always a reminder of your love and your ability to give life to the growing, living creation all around us. Please give us your presence, be here with us as constant and as refreshing as the waters we need to survive. Your voice can be as persistent, ever present, and quiet as the sound of rain on the roof, and like the sound of the rain, we hear your voice only when we quiet and listened for it. Be close to us in this time of worship, and stay with us throughout the noisy, busy week before us, and may we always be aware of how necessary you are in our lives.

Isaiah 35:1-10

I've lived about half of my life in deserts. Physical deserts such as San Diego and L.A.. Just last weekend we were in the midst of the deserts in New Mexico, Albuquerque, Soccoro, and Red Rock National Park in Gallup. I was reminded of how harsh deserts can seem. The land itself looks harsh, terrible, all bare, jagged rock, cracked dusty dirt, and crackling dead vegetation or flat, dusty green plants with stickers, spikes, or spines. On the surface it looks as if nothing could survive or even would want to live there. In the day it's so hot and dry you can feel the moisture sucked from your skin, breath, and body. At night, with no cloud cover or groundwater to hold the warmth to the land, all the warmth radiates to the clear darkness of the night and cold grows bone deep.

A few times a year, there, it rains. Not the constant soft mists that fall here, but a sheeting of water so thick it's hard to see through the windows it hits. Flash floods race through gullys, canyons and concrete channels fill overflowing with a leaping torrent, running to the sea across black top and drainage systems and it seems gone before you know it.

But in the wild desert everything takes the short existence of water and goes crazy. Brown hillsides riot into color, purples, yellows, greens, and brilliant fuchsias spill from cacti blossoms and fast grasses. Life floods in after the quick flood of water. So I always equated water with care, life, and love. The only things that lived there were the things we gave water and care to. With all the sunshine in the region, Mom could grow anything, orchids, tomatoes in winter, sugar snap peas, traditional Asian fruits, pomegranates, persimmons, kumquats, and all kinds of herbs so long as she gave them the water that they needed. Like love, the water nourished, helped all thing not only live but grow and flower and fruit into something even more marvelous than before.

Which is why I've always felt that it was appropriate that the rainy season, the growing season in the desert, was the time of advent. The juxtaposition of the rioting joy of life along with the joy of the coming of the Christ child was a right and proper thing. The world outside put on as festive and colorful a garb as the human celebrants. Here, with the constant gray skies and abundance of water, the contrast is not so keen; but the promise of life is kept all around us, always, from the forest covered mountains to the abundant rivers. In some ways, I've felt, here, in Eastgate, that I've been through a deadly desert kind of time, and I have a need for the renewal of Advent, the promise of a love that will bring life rather than destruction, listening rather than anger, and hope rather than cynacism. May the love and the light we show this Advent be as nourishing, constructive and life-giving as the rains on the desert. Amen.

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