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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Dry

I received a text message this past Sunday morning from our Minister of Worship Arts. She wrote to all the church staff, “Poinsettias are wilted and sad – anyone have time to come water before the 9:00 service?” Immediately, several other ministers responded with “Sure. I can help.” “On my way.” I takes me 40 minutes to get to our church from my house in Wallace, so I just pretended I didn’t see it.

By the time I got to church (in time for the 9:00 service, thank you) all the poinsettias beautifully adorning our pulpit area were again flourishing. Each one received ½ cup of water (as strongly encouraged by our green-thumb administrative assistant) and they looked bright enough for the White House. They were not dying; just a little thirsty.

There is a good chance that sometime between now and Christmas you may find yourself feeling wilted and sad. Holidays bring on added demands and stress that can weigh you down. Christmas traditions can be reminders of people no longer with you. All the bright lights and noise can serve to highlight the darker places in your heart and spirit.

Psalm 42 begins with these words: “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Some translations read, “So my soul pants for you…” “Soul pants” makes me think of the plaid bell-bottom britches I wore in the 70s, so I’m going with the alternative translation.) The writer of this Psalm understood the craving for spiritual nourishment and strength we all feel from time to time.

In one of his powerful encounters with individuals, Jesus spoke to a woman who had come to the well for water. He used her quest for water as a springboard to talk about spiritual thirst. Jesus told her that he was the Living Water that would quench the longing of her soul. Knowing him would produce a spring of water that would continue to nourish and refresh her spirit, even in times when life drained her of everything else.

Feeling a little wilted? Jesus calls out to each of us, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)

-Dr. Jim Baldwin

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