By: Rachel Carle
Readings: Isaiah 41:14-20, Romans 15:14-21, Psalm 21
For 27 days this year, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Southeast DC did not have running water. 270 individuals in care, 700 staff. No running water to wash their hands, bathe, use the bathroom, or sanitize the hospital rooms. St. Elizabeth’s serves predominantly black and brown, low-income people with disabilities – and the District deliberately failed them. It’s upsetting. It’s disgraceful. It’s unjust.
The passage for today, from Isaiah 41, describes people in search of water where there is none. And when their God answers them, God doesn’t say, “Wait a bit. People in power are doing their best given their administrative and budgetary constraints.” God doesn’t say, “Things aren’t as bad as you think.” God doesn’t say, “Just have some water bottles and Wet Ones.”
God’s answer is to make rivers out of barren land. Springs burst from the earth.
I have so often accepted what is “feasible,” instead of what is right. Have you? This season, I am reminded that we are called to a radical faith, an impatient faith, that believes in the fullness of justice and compromises none of it.
On this International Human Rights Day, we are longing for a world without thirst, poverty, or injustice. When we close our eyes, may we imagine more radically than we ever have before what that world might look like, and what it might take for us to get there.