by Matt Zemanick
Readings: Psalm 128, Ezekiel 36:22-32, John 7:53—8:11
Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. Ezekiel 36:28-29
Our God is a God of desert people. For some reason or another, God’s people seem to find themselves in the desert. In one way or another, for one reason or another we are all stuck in the desert. Perhaps we are here in the desert because of our own short comings, or because we are in the desert escaping slavery in Egypt, or because we find ourselves in diaspora throughout Babylon, or because the authorities have come to shame us, or because God has breathed his last on the cross.
Well, not exactly, today our desert moments take place in a different setting, under different pretexts. My most powerful desert moment happened when I found out my dad would be going to prison for a second time. There was a sense of void, of soul crushing abandonment. I cried with anger and frustration at God. In response to my lament, God revealed herself as she has for all of time, with words of promise and steadfast love, in the face of the wickedness of the world. Despite the shortcomings of humanity that seem to be constantly placing us in the desert, God continues to say to us, “you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
Ancient of Days, you are the source of life in our desert times. We fall short and you remain steadfast. For this I give thanks. Be here with us now, in these desert times, lead us to the promised land as you have for our ancestors since the beginning of time and promise to until the end of ages. Amen.