in the desert
in the desert
© 2010 Terri Stewart
Lenten Reflection Week 5, Day 2:
The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."
-Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
My favorite number is 4. I think it is because of musical meter, 4/4 being the most common time signature. Maybe it is from the perfect amount of people to play pinochle, I don’t know. It one of the sillier things about me that I actually have a favorite number. Somehow, though, it aligns with East, South, West, North. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Dawn, Day, Evening, Night. Birth, youth, adult, crone.
Yesterday, the song, “Shout to the North,” kept running through my head. There is a line, “rise up church with broken wings” which is calling mightily to me as I struggle with the church’s historical stances on abhorrent issues such as slavery. And their current stance on issues such as full inclusion for GLBTQ. Yes, the church has broken wings. I’m not sure how much rising up it can do, but the people in the church can certainly rise up and lift the broken wings. They can rise up and help heal the church. It is in our American society that we throw away things that are broken rather than take the time to heal and repair. We do not see things through their entire life-cycle. We are uncomfortable with brokenness.
I think there is hope as we move towards being a society of recyclers and composters. Perhaps we will finally be able to see that there is a continuity in life. From birth to life to death to life beyond death. We may deny it, but eventually our bodies in death, become compost for the ground and bring life beyond death. Perhaps with this movement towards composting and recycling, we will move beyond a society of death-fearers/death-worshipers and embrace life in its many beautiful forms.
Regarding the scripture and its promise for eternal summer, perhaps this is the promise we have needed when we are in the winter. It is difficult, but we must find the promise in all the seasons or we become idolaters focused only on the fullness and unable to see the beauty of the desert.
It seems to becoming a theme, but, I wonder what would happen if we stay awake to God in the winter? In the barren desert? In our crones? In the persecution? In the suffering? In the frozen tundra? I wonder what new bits of growth and movement we could detect if we opened ourselves up enough to the rugged, frightening, beauty?