Aloha Friday message – January 28, 2011 – Raining ALOHA!

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Happy Aloha Friday, Beloved! Here in Hawaii we are watching as the mainland – indeed much of the whole world – gets clobbered with some of the worst winter weather in decades. Wednesday night on the news they showed a mountain of “displaced snow” 50 feet high and covering 4 acres (Boston). We have flooding on every continent. We have some of the coldest cold ever recorded. Hundreds of thousands of people are stranded clear around the globe. When all this stuff melts, there will likely be more flooding. In places where they use salt and sand to treat the roads (and now even pickle juice and beet juice!), when that melts it will also pollute the rivers and lakes. Seems like too much of a good thing … we need the moisture, but it would be nice if it was spread out a little more across time instead of whomping us in just a few weeks. I mention this because the passage I had selected for this week speaks of rain and snow:

Isaiah 55:10-11
10 For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, 11 So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

This is part of a beautifully poetic chapter in the book of the prophet, Isaiah, chapter 55. Many of the phrases and images in this chapter are familiar to us – “come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” And we also remember “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” And this famous quote we hear very often: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Poetic prose perhaps, or prosaic poetry, but beautiful, beautiful words. And God also is telling us in this chapter that He’s going to change the rules of the game, he’s going to make it possible for everyone to win. He’s going to make everything come out right and he himself will save us. At this point God is saying that to succeed in obtaining forgiveness and blessing, man has to obey the law, do the right thing, maintain justice, and keep the Sabbath without desecrating it. And in this God is revealing that he will provide us with the Man, the Word who will do that for us by being with us.

The exuberance in this passage shows a touch of urgency. God is saying, “I’m going to do something amazing and it is almost upon you. Get ready! You don’t want to miss it!” And that is no exaggeration. God himself is saying, “I’m not anything like you. What I can think, and do, and say is so far beyond you that even the smallest thing I do will astound you.” (Ain’t that the truth!) Get on board, little children! We’re headed for the promised land.

Then he gives us this amazing image, a beautiful metaphor of rain and snow. The rain or snow comes from his hand, under his control. It has substance and form. It matters because it is matter. It is real, and it has real effects. It waters and helps nourish the land, the crops, and orchards, the meadows and fields, the rivers and lakes and seas and the oceans, and every living thing in every living place touched by his gift of water. And when it eventually returns to his hands it has accomplished that for which he purposed it.

And is the same fashion as his gift of water is under his control, and has substance, and matters, and accomplishes what he intends so also is his Word. It is clear from the metaphor that this is not merely a spoken word. It is a Living Word that does what he expects to be done before returning to him. Only this time, as God has shown us in the earlier verses of this chapter and so many other places in the Old Testament, God is himself the Living Word. He is the Shepherd who will pasture his sheep. He will do for humankind everything he asked of them and he will do it all for them on their behalf. Once his plan is accomplished, all we humans have to do is accept the plan by believing in the Living Word he’s been telling us about for thousands and thousands of years.

And yet… we hesitate. We hem and haw. We pooh-pooh “religion.” We ignore the miracle of the call – the voice of God saying our names and telling us, “It’s OK. Everything is free. No need to pay for anything that does not satisfy. Just come to me. I’ve taken care of everything you need.”

Another thought: When the rain and snow return to God, they don’t go back in the same appearance as when they came down. They are changed from rain and snow to water vapor- the spirit of water if you will. God’s Word did not return to him the same way he came to us. He was changed. And just as water is always water whether liquid, solid, or vapor, God is always God whether Father, Son, or Spirit. And God did all of this for you. And for you, too, and for me, and for her, and for him and for them and for us. No one is left out. No one is untouched. There is no drought unless we shut out the rain and snow.

“Well, I’d sure like to shut out the rain and snow now! Enough already! We don’t need any more of this.” Sure, the weather has become threatening, but God’s rain of his Word is never threatening. It is always nurturing and always effective when we do not block its effects. We have to be open to the rain. In Deuteronomy 32:2 (http://bible.cc/deuteronomy/32-2.htm) “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” And we also read in Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; Break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain down justice upon you.” Beloved, are you not ready to bring in a new harvest of joy and blessing? Let the rain come down, the Living Word will refresh your spirit and nurture your soul. Sing in the Rain! Walk in the Word! God says he will make that Rain and that Word prosperous in your life, prosperous as in making your life a Life in the Spirit through the Water and the Word. It is yours for nothing more than holding out your hand and your heart and saying, “I’d like more, please.”

Beloved, the “more” you will receive is more prolific, more awe-inspiring, more grandly satisfying than anything else you will ever experience.

Share-A-Prayer
Special request this week for Desmond L. who has Stage IV cancer. He and his family know there is no going back, but going forward is difficult because love demands they all must endure what he endures. Pray for them to have strength fortified with compassion and carried to him in the grace of faith so he can know that Peace which surpasses all understanding.

Also for TH: He needs to find something in a clerical type of work – bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks – and although staying on Kaua`i is appealing, there’s also the joy of being around his grandkids. Ask God to open some doors for this man of great faith.

For MC: Disastrous week. She and her family will have a very long and slow recovery, and it is possible the worst is yet to come. Pray for a return to church and a way to move away from their current location.

The anniversary last week of the earthquake in Haiti has jolted many of us into realizing that life there is still horrendous for so many. Yet it is also filled with many graces and miracles. Ken, Diane, and Emi Pierce continue to serve in their mission there. Just in the past few days five more babies have been born! Pray for them to find the resources – physical, emotional, and spiritual – to continue this good work.

Beloved, pray for your Pastors, your Priests, and all clergy everywhere. Pray for those who will help you get out into the Rain by getting you down into The Word. Many of our MBN members are members of the clergy, and I can tell you, they depend on our prayers to keep them going.

Please go ahead and post your prayer requests and praise reports at Share-A-Prayer.

(https://www.aloha-friday.org/share-a-prayer)

As I look over this list of prayers, and the requests posted in the 2010 prayer list (https://www.aloha-friday.org/archives/1672), I am so deeply grateful to know that we are praying for, with, and about each other. Pray with, for, and in The Word, Beloved!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!
chick

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

One Response to Aloha Friday message – January 28, 2011 – Raining ALOHA!

  1. Karen Vande Vrede says:

    praise God from Whom all blessings flow…

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