August 2, 2020

Proper 13 2020 Morning Prayer

Passage: Isaiah 55:1-5; Romans 9:1-5

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water!

Who among us has not been thirsty? We are living in the dog-days of summer

the beginning of August heat that has moved through June and July and if we spend any time outside we come inside to hopefully cooler clime and get a drink of water.

Isaiah is known for being a prophet of reversals, God’s great reversals. Here are the people Israel dying of thirst not just for water, but for God and for a good word from their God. And here it is. You’ve been longing for relief I, your God, am here to give it to you. You’ve been through exile and have had hatred thrown in your faces I’m here to relieve you. So come…there is water that flows gently

and there is water that floods. Some of us have experienced floods in our homes. And it contaminates and it stinks. But this is God’s water that is pure, and holy, and good and life-giving.

Do we long for God’s water as much as these people did? Are we thirsty for God as this beleaguered nation was? Or are we content with the shallowness of spirit

that caused Israel to go into exile because they had lost interest in worshipping God in the way God demanded. God does not want our pious prayers nor our shallow hearts. God wants all of us and God will give us spiritual water in which

to immerse ourselves every day of our lives.

The apostle Paul knew about that spiritual water and he was aflame with it.

Preacher, teacher, the bane of some people’e existence because he got into trouble so often with his message of God’s love for God’s people: Israel.

Paul never gave up being who God called him to be. But in this passage from Romans he writes he would give all that up for his beloved people, the ones he has so urgently preached to, the ones who keep turning away from him and his Jesus.

And I cannot help but wonder in our days if some of us would be willing to echo Paul’s lament and exchange our place of safety and health with someone who was dying of this dread pandemic that surges through our world. Would we give up our lives to offer someone else the incredible opportunity of breathing? Would we offer our selves to someone in their place so we would die and they would live? I don’t think that is what God wants of us but the analogy is there.

Because that is really what Paul is saying here. He is willing to die for someone else to be able to live a life filled with the love of Jesus. Paul is willing to trade places with his beloved Israel so they might know joy and peace. This is not anti-semitism, this is love for others that goes to the edge! And God calls us this day, this season, to come to waters of abundance to be people willing to love and give without measure to stop being shallow people who think all is well as long as we safely social distance.

God calls us, as Paul was called, to grieve over those who reject the gospel of Jesus whether it is through hatred or through ignorance. We as God’s people are called to grieve and to live our lives filled with the abundance with which we have been so blessed that we would offer anyone willing to listen or to observe

that Jesus’s love is for real and for now. Amen.

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