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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 35
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.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
     the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
     the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
     and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
     “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
     He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
     He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
     and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
     and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
     and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
     and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
     the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
     and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
     but it shall be for God’s people;
     no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
     nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
     but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
     and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
     they shall obtain joy and gladness,
     and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (NRSV)

For 364 days of the year my cactus is very plain to look at, and it is so prickly that about the only thing you can do is look at it. But for one day of the year there is a glorious white flower that blossoms. That flower, so soft and delicate, is a total contrast to the hard, bristly plant that produces it.

I like to keep the cactus around, not just for the beautiful flower, but because it gives me a lot to think about throughout the year. In some ways I feel like that cactus too; nothing much may be happening on the surface, but inside I know God is doing wonderful things that are just waiting to blossom when the time is right. That cactus is also a reminder that all of us have flowers, gifts, just waiting to emerge.

The cactus also reminds me to not only relish the flower, but also the waiting, the days of soaking up the sun, absorbing and transforming the energy into new life. It reminds me to enjoy the gift of simply being aware of the pleasure of each moment, seeking and finding something to be grateful for each day. John Ortburg has written, “Waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.” 

Dear God, what do you want me to be? What flowers are inside me just waiting to blossom? Help me find the gifts that you call me to share. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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