The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing … They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” Isaiah 32.1-2
A Word of Hope
Glory to God, Even in the Wastelands
I spent most of the last week in a windswept, sandy part of southeastern Oklahoma that some of my sisters, who live in the lush, green Pacific Northwest would certainly describe as God-forsaken wasteland. Yet it was truly beautiful. The trees and shrubs were awash with the green furry leaves of Spring, and wild redbuds and wildflowers were awake everywhere. It was a great time to be alive and aware – I kept thanking my Creator for the opportunity to be present and part of these new stirrings of life which were unmistakable everywhere about me.
There are a lot of places like this in the world – that are not postcard verdant, yet are astoundingly beautiful if you have your heart and eyes open. The bald, spare places like badlands and hoodoos, where starkness itself inspires us to cry out Hosannas. I remember, for example, a place in the Nebraska Sandhills named the Dismal River, which is actually stunningly glorious if you appreciate it for what it is and not hope for what it is not. God imbues creation with glory, and all creation sings God’s glory. Even in my own personal wastelands, if I get out of my own way, am still, and listen, I may see things worthy of Hosannas!
As we move closer to Easter, I have been recalling the story from Luke of Jesus’ ride from the Mount of Olives. In this version of what happened on “Palm Sunday,” Jesus rides on a colt and there are cloaks thrown on the ground instead of palms. There also aren’t shouts of Hosanna; but the disciples do say, “Blessed is the one who comes in God’s name. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” Unique to this story, as well, are some Pharisees in the crowd, who rebuke Jesus and tell him to keep his disciples under control. Jesus answers, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them; shouting praise.” The stones, just like God’s Creation, would rise up! God’s Creation could not keep silent! “The wilderness and the dry land” (and even the stones in the road!) shall sing God’s glory! God’s gift of life!
O Gracious One, as we begin the sacred journey of Holy Week may our minds be open to your living presence. May our hearts be softened to receive your love. May our spirits be intertwined with your Great Spirit so that our voices and our lives can be witnesses to your Glory and your Truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Rev. Patricia (Patsy) Bjorling