“With Joy You Will Draw Water” A Devotion on Isaiah 12: 2,3

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; God has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”—Isaiah 12:2,3

Advent brims with promise and hope. The long-expected Holy One is drawing near, bringing peace and righteousness.

Advent promises a great reversal! Even the natural order of things will be overturned. The lion will dwell with the lamb. The desert will blossom and bloom.

And there will be great joy! My friend Anne McKinstry wrote a joyous Advent hymn that refers to today’s text from Isaiah. Her hymn, “With Joy Draw Water” (Number 109 in the New Century Hymnal), begins this way:

“With Joy draw water from the spring; salvations living well.
The Holy One is in your midst; glad praises sing and tell.”

Drawing “water from the wells of salvation” is such a lovely image. What will that living water do for us? What thirsts will it quench? What wounds will it heal? What stains will it wash?

In our holy imagination, especially in Advent, we watch and wait, pray and hope for God’s great promised reversal. We hunger and thirst for righteousness. We look and long for justice, for love and peace and joy to flourish as those wild myrtle bushes blossom in the driest of deserts.

Today our world is broken and lost, but someday, someday, in God’s own time, God will lead us to the wells of salvation, and there we will draw water and we, and our world, will be healed.

Prayer: Surely you, O God, are our salvation. Help us to trust you and not be afraid, as we look ahead with joy to your coming among us.

(This devotion is from “Come, Lord Jesus” the 2018 Advent Devotional from the United Church of Christ’s  STILLSPEAKING WRITERS’ GROUP.)

“Unexpected Miracles” A Sermon on Isaiah 43: 16-21

Last spring, when your pastors Bruce and Barb invited me to come be with you I didn’t realize that I would be with you on a momentous day. For today is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended The First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. So before this service is over we will have reached that centenary. Continue reading

“God’s Righteousness and Ours” A Devotion on Psalm 111:2-3

“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of honor and majesty is God’s work, and God’s righteousness endures forever.”—Psalm 111:2-3

The concept of “righteousness” was important to Ancient Israel’s self-understanding of their covenant with God. The Hebrew word usually translated as righteousness could also mean integrity, justice, prosperity or wholeness. Righteousness was both an attribute belonging to God, and the order of things that God put into place for the well being of Israel. Continue reading

“Your Sons and Your Daughters Shall Prophesy” A Devotion on Acts 2:16-17

“No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.‘’—Acts 2:16-17 Continue reading

“Living Water and Leaky Containers” A Devotion on Jeremiah 2:13

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.”—Jeremiah 2:13

When you live in the desert you know the difference between green and brown, between wet and dry. In the parched lands from which we get our Bible water was not only a precious resource, but also an important metaphor for life itself. Continue reading

“Scorched by Holy Fire!” A Devotion on Jeremiah 20:8b-9

“For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
—Jeremiah 20: 8b-9 Continue reading