Kenneth L. Samuel
"He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in dry places like a river." - Psalm 105:41 (KJV)
Like many other countries in the throes of financial crises, Britain is struggling to revive a faltering economy. A recent survey by Abbey Banking reveals that 64% of British citizens are running out of money before payday each month. And, with corporate tax collections well below estimates and government spending well above estimates, Britain seems poised for yet another painful round of social spending cuts, exacerbating the financial worries of many.
But into this dismal national scenario, there gushed a flood of joy. Prince William and Lady Catherine gave birth to an 8 pound, 6 ounce baby boy on Monday, July 22, and with the announcement of that birth, the spirit of a beleaguered nation was refreshed. People all across England, as well as the 53 member states of the Commonwealth, celebrated with flowers, cards and champagne, as they joined together on one accord to wish the royal family well and to confirm the vitality of their national solidarity.
God never fails to send rivers of hope through deserts of desolation.
Through the dry places of a Catholic Church, riveted by allegations of child abuse, a river of renewed compassion for "the least of these" still flows, with the coronation of a new Pope.
Through the arid sectors of a United Church of Christ, seeking to expand its work in a world of depleting denominational resources, a river of high hope still flows - both for the restructuring of the denomination and for the recommitment to its mission of extravagant welcome in the world.
Through every death valley, a river of new life, new hope and new possibility still flows.
Our destinies are not so much determined by our anguish in the desert as they are by the renewal we experience down by the riverside.
Dear God, in every dry place, let the rivers of your presence and your peace renew us. Revive us again. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.