The Hills Are Alive

You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy.
– Psalm 65:11-12 (NRSV)

The house where I grew up is purported to have been a speakeasy during Prohibition.

It’s not too hard to imagine. The house sits atop a hill along a rugged path (not a metaphor), as out-of-the-way and nearly inaccessible today as it was in the speakeasy days, when a rough wagon track climbed the hill and then continued its winding way along the mountain. A traveler would have had to be intent on that hilltop destination to choose such a difficult path.

In my childhood, I explored those old wagon tracks through the woods, but these days, much of the path is overgrown with brambles. Only deer and small wildlife can navigate it easily.

But oh! There are wild raspberries too along that way, when the season is right. Blueberries and teaberries if you know where to look. Blushing mountain laurel and swinging vines.

The overgrown wagon tracks may be intimidating to wagons and wanderers alike, but God’s wild richness on the trail is no less abundant.

Which is a lesson I’m trying to hold onto in these days when life seems determined to take the most difficult path possible: The wildness of the way overflows with beauty and bounty, even when the path is rough. The tracks across the hills are dressed in God’s joy, even amidst the brambles.

Let your bounty, O God, be the source of my joy even when I am snagged by brambles. Let me recognize the beauty of your path even when the way is overgrown.

written for the Daily Devotional

Remember

Though our teeth are set on edge, O God,
let us never forget your name.

Though the night is long with wrestling, O God,
let us never forget your blessing.

Though the sun and moon strike us, O God,
let us never forget your help.

Though the litany of lies grows, O God,
let us never forget we belong to you.

Though justice is slow and faith weary, O God,
let us never lose heart or voice.

Though time is impatient, O God,
let us never forget your fullness.

Though we are plucked up and broken down, O God,
let us never neglect your promise within us.

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary texts,
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Send Word

Tell the stars to send word, O Creator,
of your faithfulness to every generation,
of your trustworthiness through the long night of injustice.

Tell the children to send word, O Love,
of your accompaniment in places of exile,
of your blessed increase even in the presence of enemies.

Tell the prophets to send word, O Hope,
of your oasis in the desert named oppression,
of your refuge when our homes are not safe from violence.

Tell the Jordan River to send word, O Peace,
of your healing no matter how shallow the waters,
of your sweet relief when our tears overflow like a storm.

Tell the silver to send word, O Fire,
of your grace through fierce judgment,
of your pure beauty that gleams in the midst of trial.

Tell the foreigner to send word, O Mercy,
of your welcome that continuously disrupts exclusion,
of your fearsome freedom for the sake of life and redemption.

Send word, O God,
by wind or horse or messenger,
and we will give thanks for ever and ever.

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary texts,
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Wormwood and Gall

God of our ancestors,
the song we inherited
has been starved in this famine of injustice;
our tongues have dried
from crying in this desert of hopelessness.

Increase our faith!

God of all creation,
the grass will wither
and we along with it, no matter our fretting;
our breath will end
long before the mountain melts into the sea.

Increase our faith!

God of daily mercies,
mustard seeds bloom
while we hew millstones and forge chains;
we guard our tables
believing you will commend their purity.

Increase our faith!

God of all power,
we weep bitterly
for our affliction in these days of judgment;
you are undeterred,
calling still to love and discipline and hope.

Increase our faith!

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary texts;
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals