I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19, NRSV
"As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.
For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert."
1. My domestic life. My weekdays tend to be pretty spiritually arid, to follow our metaphor. My weekends -- generally spent in domestic pursuits with Fellow Traveler, at either of our homes -- are oases of love and calm and contentment. There is something about having someone waiting for you (or in my case my special human someone, plus three canine faces pressed against the windowpane) at home at the end of a Friday afternoon that erases all the Sturm und Drang of the workweek; and at the risk of sounding a little "cosmic" I think that feeling of home is a foretaste of our coming home, at the end of things, into the presence of God and the Communion of Saints.
2. Music. Of assorted kinds. Bach organ preludes...chant...worldbeat...jazz...blues...folky coffeehouse stuff.
3. Learning. I know I do a lot of kvetching here about my experiences in lay ministry training, but the consistent bright spot in the whole thing is the educational component. I love listening to our lectures, and asking questions. And I love learning in general; I think that resolving to learn some new thing every year in a systematic way -- Spanish or swimming or fly-tying or growing orchids -- is a splendid idea. Interestingly, I spend a lot of my 9-to-5 life feeling stupid; so building a knowledge base in some area or competency in some skill lifts me up and makes me feel like I'm living into the sapiens part of my enfleshed existence.
4. Prayer. As much as I enjoy a system of fixed prayer, I think the kind that really get me from day to day are the 5 a.m. extemporaneous kind. There is a certain honesty, a lack of artifice, lying there in the dark with no distractions and no excuses, that makes it one of the most real places in my life.
5. Nature. I was reminded of this the other day, reading some ancient and contemporary Celtic prayers from Iona, with their evocative images of sea and sky and shore. I think my concern about the environment is fueled in part by my own experience of feeling close to the Divine in nature.
Thanks, Wikipedia , for the Colorado River photo.