Running Water

ERH Sermon Photo Lent 5A sermon for the fifth Sunday in Lent. Isaiah 43:16-21

When I get thirsty, I walk over to the cabinet and grab a glass from my line of clean dishes, I meander to the closest of several sinks in my house or in the office, I flick the knob with my wrist, and “ahh,” my thirst is quenched.

Even a hundred years ago, on my great-grandmother’s farmstead in Minnesota, the very most she’d need to do — even in April — was pull on boots and coat, grab a bucket, and trudge across the yard to the water pump, work the handle a few times with vigor, and then enjoy fresh water from the depths of the earth.

The ingenuity of our forebears, the clever and brilliant inventors of our past, have brought unimaginable convenience and immediacy to our lives. Even in our dry season, hoses still spout water for home gardeners, we don’t get concerned that our rivers might leave us without a way to feed our plants, let alone to quench our own thirst. And so, this word from Isaiah, beautiful and evocative though it may be, suffers the risk of remaining in our ears and in our minds, not moving all the way into our hearts and our bodies, because with roads spanning our massive country — even our ponderous state — there’s no real need for a “way in the wilderness,” or for “rivers in the desert.” Except for fleeting, dramatic circumstances (perhaps!), most of us has never needed “water in the wilderness,” or been dependent on some divine being to be given drink to quench our thirst. Continue reading

anxiety attacks and the fallacy of linear progression

IMG_0913Exactly a year ago, up here in the mountains, I fell upon reading Katharine Welby’s blog, and began to admit to myself that I wasn’t “just blue” or “tired” or “having a tough week”–I was depressed.

Katharine Welby-Roberts had been suffering anxiety and depression for many years, and wrote with such clarity and compassion that I was both horrified (at how much I identified with her experiences) and comforted (there was actually something wrong, but it was something at least somewhat treatable which I was suffering, and which millions of others suffered too).

In the ensuing year, as has been cataloged in this very space, I’ve started medication, sought healing through less work and more prayer and yoga, and continue to pursue honesty along the path I trod.

So, a year out, I had my first anxiety attack in several weeks just yesterday. Continue reading

crying with the psalmist

IMG_1964“How long, O Lord, how long?”

I wonder how long it is that my mind will be in this space, that my refrain will be from the second part of the third verse of psalm 6, “low long, O Lord, how long?”  It feels like every day is the last one I can stand.  Sometimes, I ask my husband to drive me home or I sit and stare at the wall, paralyzed.  Psalm 6 gives voice to my frustration.  I roll my eyes and pound at my pillow, I complain and cry about this disease that leaves me dumb, disorganized, addled.  But I’m asking the wrong question. Continue reading

Friday Icon

Rembrandt_-_The_Three_Crosses_(second_state)_-_WGA19086

This week, I’ve been thinking about the thief on the cross to whom Jesus promises, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).  It’s never too late to start over.

As the shine of yoga-camp-life wears off, and we’re traveling, my new healthful routine gets to having cracks in it and my body and soul feel the un-balancing starting to set in.  Instead of starting the day with psalms and meditation, I’m eager to get going, feed the animals, start the coffee, then suddenly I’m showering and driving to work, the day long-since begun and no quiet time to speak of.

How important it is, though, when I know not what a day will bring, to spend a bit of time waiting and asking to be filled up with strength and compassion for the day ahead–though I’m blind to the future, God, the giver of all strength and compassion, is not.  Indeed, God knows exactly what I will need.  God knows what a day will hold and exactly what I will need to survive, thrive, and serve him well in it.  Why not give him a chance to fill me up before it begins?

And I must remember, it’s never too late to start over.  Of course, a new day with its morning light and freshness is a natural, comfortable moment to start over, but it can be anytime of day.  The thief on the cross started over at the very last possible moment, and it still wasn’t too late.

The Three Crosses (Rembrandt) via