Lenten Devotional – Sat, April 13th

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By: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum

Isaiah 43:16-21

Reflection—v.19 ‘I will make a way in the wilderness’

Some days as we trundle our little carts filled with sandwiches, warm soup, and cold water down the broken and jagged sidewalks of Ponce de Leon Avenue a sense of hopelessness looms over me like a slow-approaching cloud promising unwanted rain. You see, it’s a nice thing to do, this daily protest march through the food-desert of gentrification, but it isn’t enough, and I carry the dead weight of that truth, heavier than five gallons of soup. It isn’t enough what we do each day, though it feels like more than I can carry. This year our shelter opened at higher temperatures than ever before, and yet, there were still nights our community was left sleeping outside in weather too cold for human bodies. There are weeks when our church has been open and our days have been full ‘round the clock,’ and I hear all my clergy friends preaching ‘self-care,’ but I know that when our doors are closed there aren’t many opening to replace them. And so I wage a losing battle within myself of self-righteous zeal and despair. Why can we not do enough for God’s beloved, exiled in our own neighborhoods? Why can others not do more? But God’s promise to God’s people in exile is that God will make a way, even in the wilderness. God will provide water in the wilderness, because God cares about God’s people. What I do, even what Mercy Church does, is not enough, but thanks be to God, we do not do it alone. We do it with the help and support of a community (both on the streets and across the globe), pulling little carts through the wilderness where God has made a way. We do what we do even as rain clouds loom overhead, because we believe that God is present on these streets doing something new. Do you not perceive it? Will you join it?

Prayer: Give us courage, O Lord, to go to those wilderness places where you are doing a new thing.