Today we are traveling. We are at the western edge of Wyoming, where the air is thick with smoke. It’s a pall that hugs the earth like fog, but is yellowish white and acrid.
This is a vast land. Usually one can see for miles in every direction, including up. To have the view blocked so completely is disconcerting and unnerving. So much smoke! It must be coming from a mammoth fire.
There has been a great deal of climate-change-induced catastrophe of late. Fires, floods, drought. People are losing homes, savings, jobs — lives — starving and thirsting. I worry a lot. It is easy to lose heart. Story after story comes in, each more dire than the last, and what can anyone do? It all seems so overwhelmingly hopeless.
Between the climate issues, the Pandemic, and the worrisome divisiveness that seems to be manifesting world wide, lots of folks are despairing. I have heard several people say lately that if God were to take them right now, they wouldn’t be too upset. Some days I feel the same.
Some days, like Elijah in today’s Old Testament lesson from First Kings, I feel like just letting it all go. There is a desert in my heart with a broom tree in it under which my spirit lies down to die. I close my eyes, ready.
But then God entices me with spiritual food and drink. The tiniest morsel, sometimes, is laid nearby. It’s just enough to interest me a little, get me curious. And that gets me up and moving again.
There’s a hook in there. No sooner have I taken the bait than I hear God’s whisper.
“You know,” says God, “no matter what happens, you and I cannot be parted.”
“Speak to those who cross your path,” says God. “Help forge relationships between them and me. Learn their languages of hope and meaning, and make a crack so that I can enter their understanding. Because I am right there like a beggar at their gates.”
Wouldn’t you know, that is just the sort of thing I get fired-up about: the soul connection between a person and God-infused meaning.
Each of us has an assignment waiting for us in the desert of despair. Each has a tiny thing we can do to be God’s hands and voice right now.
Now, more than ever, we need to do our part. Wake up, Elijah’s, there is food nearby and work to be done!