I was thankful this morning as I saw small puddles of water on the deck. It had rained in the night. Though we are not, by definition, suffering a drought, you could not convince my pollinator garden of that fact. I’ve been watering, especially the plants new this season, but it’s not the same. The old saying goes, “Watering keeps the plants alive. Rain makes them grow.”
As we live through one of the hottest summers on record, I guess I appreciate every drop of rain. It reminds of a song by Don Henley called, “Praying for Rain.”
Something's different, something's changed
And I don't know why
Even the old folks can't recall
When it's ever been this hot and dry
Dust devils whirlin' on the first day of July
It's a hundred degrees at 10:00 AM
Not a cloud up in the sky
We hardly had a winter
Had about a week of spring
Crops are burned-up in the fields
There's a blanket of dust on everything
The weatherman is sayin'
That there ain't no change in sight
Lord, I've never been a prayin' man
But I'm sayin' one tonight
I'm prayin' for rain
Today, I was thankful because heard the prayer for rain and creation – as beat up and groaning as it is – delivered.
The phlox, echinacea, and lavender are not the only places I see evidence of drought. I also look around the world and see all kinds of things drying up and dying. The dry winds and scorching heat of violence, fear, hate, injustice and so much more are making it tough for justice to bloom, life to thrive, and compassion to blossom into love.
Just as I can feel helpless standing against the heat and dry land with my pitiful little garden hose and sprayer, I can feel helpless as life and wholeness, peace and character shrivel on the vine. But Don Henley, the rock star, reminds me that I can be praying for rain.
The psalmist prays for a day when:
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
and will make a path for his steps. (Psalms 85:10-13)
The life-giving waters of the Spirit will not just fall on the dry ground of our hearts and the world’s woes, it will spring up from the ground and flood the world with love. The prophet Isaiah also sees an end to the drought of God’s grace when he sings:
Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,
and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also… (Isaiah 45:8)
The little bit of rain that buoyed my spirit this morning and gave me a little hope for my garden reminded me that God will rain down grace, mercy, and love to break the drought we face as a people and a planet.
With the rock star, I’ll be praying for rain – both physical and metaphysical.
Pax Christi – Tim Olson, Lead Pastor