Our first reading is from Isaiah 35:4-7a.

Chapter 34 and 35 of Isaiah need to be read together. The joy of chapter 35 is seen through the violence and vengeance in chapter 34 and vice versa. To only see God as joy or vengeful is to miss the big picture of what God is doing. The bondage, drought, and oppression in the world will meet its match in a God who will bring about rehabilitative transformation. The displaced ones (Israel) will be restored and brought home. Evil will be defeated and God's goodness and love is coming. Isaiah visualizes God's love as people being healed, deserts being watered, and dry grasslands turning into lush and green places. God's kingdom is a full of life indeed. 

When I came back from vacation earlier this week, I noticed trees leaves in my driveway. My lawn is parched, brown, and dry. The weeds are limp and wilted. And the trees are just giving up on their leaves. The water I was hoping for hasn't come these last few months. Instead of rain drops, dry leaves are raining down instead. My home is parched. 

And sometimes, our lives are parched too. Something unexpected happens and we're caught off balance. The security we knew in being safe and knowing what was coming tomorrow is gone. The parts of our story that gave us life is now drying us out. 

It's in these times where the church, when we're at our best, comes to those who are suffering and says, "Here is your God." Each Sunday, we gather to be nourished by a God whose body and blood is offered to each of us. During the week, we call and connect, visit and bring food, restore and affirm our relationship with each other. Because the God who waters our lives also promises to be with us when we are caught in our deserts. There's no place where we go that God cannot come. So we, as Christians, are called to say boldly that here, right now, is your God. And's lets see where our God, who is with us, will take us next.