(For Sunday's Contemplative Service.)
Take some time to read this slowly, prayerfully and reflectively.
Imagine a field baked by the sun.
The ground dry, cracked, dusty.
The breeze blowing away the topsoil.
A few straggling grasses bleached and wilted by the heat.
The atmosphere feels unrelenting, heavy, oppressive.
I look at my life, for places where I feel like that field.
The dry, forgotten corners.
The areas where growth feels stunted and fragile.
I allow these places to speak to me,
To let them know that I honor their voices.
I listen without judging, blaming or condemning.....
As I gaze across the field I notice a small cloud,
A promise of shelter and nurture on the distant horizon.
The cloud seems to form a recognizable shape as it comes closer.
It brings a sense of peace along with its relief from the heat.
A gentle mist of rain begins to descend.
Cleansing the atmosphere as it falls on the dry ground.
I remember how it feels to be kissed by the rain,
To feel my thirst being quenched as I stand beneath the spray.....
As the rain continues it forms into mini rivers on the soil.
I notice where the water flows across the field,
How some places receive more nourishment than others.
I reflect on how I feel about that.....
I imagine channeling the water flow to places of my choosing.
I look at where I steer the stream of water,
I name what parts of my life I wish to receive more rain.....
And yet the stream flows where it will.
Finally I consider the other fields connected to mine.
The other people, all with their own thirsts and needs.
I see the rain flowing out to them.
Falling on good and bad,
Righteous and unrighteous.
Those I call worthy and those I call unworthy
It is grace that lets the rain fall on me.
It is grace that lets the rain fall on others.
Loving God, let your river flow...