Rain is coming

The promise of the Spirit

File:Florescent cloud blanket.jpg

An Advent Reflection

The theme of the second week of Advent in our parish is “The Promise of the Spirit” from last Sunday’s readings. Today’s advent verse is from the section of the book of Isaiah thought to be spoken to the people of Judea in exile in Babylon, announcing God’s new act of deliverance to restore the people.

I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants. –Isaiah 44:3NIV

Images of cracked earth on American television used to be from famine in Africa or the dust bowl of the 30’s. It’s winter now, so we aren’t seeing the pictures from California, but fires are burning in Tennessee.

We are unique in history to be able to turn on a tap in our homes and get water on demand – often from hundreds of miles away or deep below the earth. Farmers irrigate their fields when rain doesn’t fall, and food from all over the globe comes to our grocery stores. But slowly we are beginning to understand the preciousness of water.

The people of Israel are fully aware of the realities of the desert around them, and how dry their own fields get at the end of that long wait for the winter rains. They have seen parched earth. They understand well the metaphor the prophet is using to describe their inner life. We might talk about tumbleweeds: dry, rootless, blowing in the wind.

The leadership of the nation has been carried off to exile in Babylon. Most others have fled. For those who do remain behind, there is none of the glory of a temple or city – or any of its economic energy. There are no city lights, no caravans, no festival processions, no sacred feast. There is no kingship, no high priest, no symbol of God’s presence or favor. For those in Judea and those in exile, there is only memory and loss. Tumbleweeds.

Of course, the prophet would say they were spiritually bankrupt before as they neglected justice and mercy, exulted in enriching themselves and ignored the poor, feasting at banquet tables where others went hungry. They were heroes in drinking wine,” says the prophet. They had simply gone from one spiritual bankruptcy to another.

But God is not done. Rain is coming.

I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants. –Isaiah 44:3NIV

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFlorescent_cloud_blanket.jpg  By Jessie Eastland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

About dkbonde

Pastor, Los Altos Lutheran Church
This entry was posted in Advent Devotions, Christian Life, Christianity, Reflections on the Scriptures and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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