By Paul McCain of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.  Isaiah 35:1–2

There is a spot in my front yard where I have seen, in my mind’s eye, a beautiful redbud tree. I lost count of how many times my attempts to transplant a small tree to the spot failed, while hanging onto the idea there had to be life in that small plant. My daughter took pity on me and bought one from a nursery to replace the last lifeless set of twigs. I enjoyed its beautiful spring buds for several years until it started to get sick.

Each day it dwindled, my heart sank more. I kept getting questions from friends and family as to why I didn’t pull the poor sapling out. I finally gave up.

As you might guess, it’s not altogether about having a tree there; it’s about not giving up. It’s a statement about how life is lived—not giving up on programs too soon and not giving up on people who don’t realize their own worth.

May we have the sense to move on when it’s best to do so, but also the vision to see life in those around us. May we have the tenacity to work tirelessly, lovingly, to bring realization of God’s love to those lives.

Now, on close inspection, many beautiful, tiny leaves finally are emerging from the small tree. The tree, like God’s love, is also tenacious. I rejoice in the beauty of blossoms to come. To help the small tree in its determination to live, I am now watering it each day.

Prayer for Peace:

God of the giant sequoia and the tiny sapling, grow Christ’s peace in us.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Embodying God’s Shalom

Each day this week find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s peoples, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.

What images, feelings, and words come to you? What prayer for peace comes to you from your time of listening? Speak or write this prayer. What small act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking is God inviting you to consider this day, this week?

Peace Covenant:

Today God, I will share your living water with dormant lives.

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