Lessons for a Dry and Weary Land
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1 (NRSV)
Technically northern New Mexico is a “high desert,” but at 7000 feet altitude, we normally have several inches of snow in the winter. But we’re not living in normal times. Last winter, Santa Fe had a high temperature of 59, almost 20 degrees warmer than an average December.
The high temperatures and lack of moisture may be the new normal. As an environmentalist friend says, “We’d better get used to the desert—there’s going to be a lot more of it.”
We’d also be wise to learn from the desert. Fortunately, given its geography, our biblical faith is also a desert faith, as Psalm 63 demonstrates. The composer draws a parallel between their spiritual desert and the surrounding landscape: “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land with no water.” The psalmist remembers what they’ve learned from the desert: the steadfastness of God’s love; God’s presence throughout both day and night; the power of praise and thanksgiving, for the desert’s small but surprising gifts.
The psalmist reflects on the ways God has been their help, how God’s wings have provided protection and shade. Most of all, they remember what and who to cling to in the dry and weary times.
Whatever the landscape of our lives, O God, may we remember your steadfast love in our desert times and all times. May we bless and thank you as long as we live. Amen.