We’ve now almost reached the mid-way point of Lent. We’re in an in-between space, a time traditionally when fasting is beginning to pall and to take its toll. Today’s readings speak about the dryness of this mid-point of the Lenten journey; spiritual dryness that longs for refreshment and joy. The psalmist puts it so well. ‘I long for you my God, my soul is thirsting, my body pines for you like a dry weary land without water.’ We understand what that feels like don’t we; we live in a dry land where drought is ever-present, and we pray today for those in remote areas still struggling with its impact.
If we want a nice comfortable sermon today, then we should focus on the reading from Isaiah, which speaks into our dryness and our weariness; come God says, come to the waters and be satisfied. Come to the place where material things don’t matter anymore; eat what is good and delight yourselves in rich food.
‘Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he’s near’, writes Isaiah. God is never absent. The creator is always here; here in our mountains and our rivers, in our forests and seas and plains, in our hospitals and factories, in the refugee camps, and on the battlefields of the world. God is never absent, and there is no place where God is not. The prophet reminds us to turn and to seek God in all these things. Nothing in life is beyond bearing if we bear it resting in the love of God.
In our world it’s always better to be full than hungry, satisfied than thirsty, rich rather than poor, well rather than sick, alive rather than dead. All these good things are worth pursuing. But Jesus teaches us that there’s a different kind of hunger and thirst, a different kind of wealth and health. There’s a hunger and thirst for God that can only God can satisfy, or as Augustine writes, ‘we hunger and thirst for the one who is nearer to us than we are to ourselves’.
In peace, Mother Lynda
Readings: Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:31-35