A 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 →
In this phase, I’ve been blogging here less (clearly), investing my creative energies mostly in the little boy born last November. However, I’ve kept up a little bit of writing — mostly about motherhood, no surprise — over at Covenant, The Living Church’s blog. Catch my latest posts here:
“The idea that every day is another opportunity to battle the constant barrage of thoughts that inform me of my every weakness both perceived and real, is often too overwhelming to contemplate and the TV – that always friendly source of absolutely brain free entertainment is an increasingly constant friend.” (cue emphatic “uh huh”-ing and encouraging-foot-stomping) – Katharine Welby
For me, tv is often a way to block out those damning voices Katharine talks about, and sometimes I think of it as a way to escape the unrelenting frustration that pops up like those rodents in Whack-A-Mole–I can just ignore them for awhile, let them all pop up unchecked, maybe they’ll even knock each other out with their incessant bubbling about. Continue reading →
At yoga camp, I started drinking water like it was my job.
Granted, I am living in an un-air-conditioned (fantastic) old house, and spending most of every day working out, so drinking water sort of IS my job. However: I kept up the obsession somewhat out of boredom and somewhat out of idle curiosity. Not every moment demanded my full attention (that’s my own ego’s opinion, not the truth), and I wondered, what would happen if I really drank those 8-10 cups of water every day for weeks?
Well. I’m here to tell you that it not only made my skin the clearest it’s been in 2 decades, but it’s curbed my addiction to sweets.
I think what is really going on is that I’ve been incorrectly diagnosing an evening hydration trigger for an evening sweet trigger. Sure, plenty of it is conditioning, but I’ve noticed that when my body is full of water, my tongue isn’t quite as overpowering in its cry for chocolate cake or ice cream.
It made me wonder–as my brain has been trained the last few weeks–how this translates to my larger life. If I perceive a need for water as a desired sugar buzz, I wonder if I am perceiving my soul’s cry for Living Water as a desired Netflix buzz. Perhaps saturation in the Scriptures would quell the tugging at the corners of my mind that most often drives me to a screen.
Maybe a bit of meditation or contemplation would relieve my parched spirit more than a sweet bit of comedy could ever hope to do.
Is there anything worse than sticking out in a group of people? Is there anything more humiliating than showing up for a party with an outfit that is far too formal or far too casual? Is there anything more uncomfortable than realizing that you don’t understand the jokes being told in a group, or that you can’t relate at all to the complaints and observations of daily life being made in conversation?
It is painful to be an outsider, to have that feeling in the pit of your stomach, knowing that you don’t belong. Like that Sesame Street feature: “One of these things is not like the others.” And yet, this is how Evelyn Underhill, the sister in faith whose example we remember today, spent most of her life. Continue reading →
Before I started wearing glasses, lo twenty-some years ago, I didn’t realize that a person was supposed to be able to see leaves on trees. I’ll never forget riding home in the backseat from the appointment where I received my first pair of glasses; Continue reading →