read: The desert and the dry land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus. -Isaiah 35:1
reflect: Isaiah is writing about what it will be like when his community returns to loving God and each other. When that day comes, the very land they inhabit will be glad. The whole creation awaits the coming of God to set us right with each other and with God once again. Peace on earth! Do you see any signs of the dry land rejoicing here in Odessa?
When it rains in the desert, when the hospice patient laughs, when an enemy says “I’m sorry,” when a homeless man gets a job that pays well enough for shelter, when at last the family squabble ends in forgiveness, when the family moves out of their motel room into a house, when prickly grief gives way to a moment of warm peace, when the touch of a child’s hand on ours hand brings us alive again . . . When surprising gifts come, something begins to bloom, for God has drawn near.
O come, quickly, Lord Jesus.
pray: Surprising God, give us eyes to see all the ways You are coming among us. Amen.
with children: Ask how they see God at work (or at play!) around them. Be ready to give your own simple, brief example.
act: Surprise someone with an act of love that would never be expected today.