O God, as the showers renew the earth, bathe us in your healing power. Stretch out your hand, that we may live and know that you alone are God, in whose faithfulness we have life all our days. Amen.
Daily Prayer for All Seasons, p. 149
As we enter another week of uncharacteristically dry weather in Minnesota, we’re mindful of water. The brown lawn, the wilting bean vines, the low river level – it’s plain to see that we’re in drought. The heavy storm that battered my campsite one night a few weekends ago brought rain, but by noon the next day, the road was dusty again. We’re thirsty.
This Sunday, in the Gospel of John, we’ll hear Jesus say, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). In that text, Jesus is not speaking about physical thirst, but about spiritual thirst. Like the branches growing from the vine, the promise we hear Jesus make is that, abiding in him, weathering the seasons, we remain nourished.
How are you weathering this summer drought? Have you found ways to abide, to plug in, to stay connected to Jesus in the midst of the swirl of daily life? This season, the season after Pentecost, is in so many ways a time to embrace the fullness of life, the vitality of growth, the replenishing nurture of resting and rejoicing. If you’re finding that your well is dry, now is an excellent time to seek an oasis, to refill, to restore.
If you’re looking to refill your well this summer, after such a traumatic and stressful year, I hope you’ll take time to consider all the aspects of your physical and mental health that might want a good summer soaking. Faith isn’t separate from those two aspects of our experience. Abiding in Jesus is another way of talking about the practices of discipleship – the daily actions that keep us available to God’s love and attentive to the Holy Spirit. Those daily actions are not complicated: Spending time every day with Jesus in Scripture. Rhythms of prayer. Discernment practices. Shared worship. Healing. Community.
But: sometimes, if the well is dry and dusty, those small daily re-orientations toward God may not offer the kind of revival you’re looking for. In that case, abiding might look more involved: Setting time outside of your normal routine for a retreat. Or taking the plunge into counseling to address a thorny part of your emotional experience that Jesus keeps poking you about. Or trying a new experiment in the Way of Love, or finding something new to learn that will change your perspective or your approach.
If taking a course sounds like a good way to replenish your soul, check out what’s coming up at the School for Formation this fall. Some courses start as soon as August 15/16.
In the weeks left this summer, I’m praying for rain. I’m praying for long, gentle, regular soaking rains that can nourish our fields without washing away the stressed crops. And I’m praying for all of us to be bathed in God’s healing power as those showers renew the earth.