Rain in the Forecast
O children, be glad and rejoice in God, who has poured down for you abundant rain. The threshing floor shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I am your God, and you shall never again be put to shame. Then afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. – Joel 2:23-24 & 27-28 (NRSV, adapted)
Where there is rain, there can be growth. Where there is growth, there can be a harvest. Where there is a harvest, there can be hope. Where there is hope, there can be prophetic vision.
Meteorologists are forecasting a mild, dry winter for regions of the U.S. that are already experiencing drought conditions.
Psychologists and psychiatrists are measuring increased anxiety and spiraling depression levels across all age groups—part pandemic, part digital fatigue, part economic and social stress.
Civil rights advocates are tracking the erosion of human rights like it’s a crowded evidence board: invasions of privacy, voter suppression, growing extremism, data mining, and more.
If we are without hope in the face of it all, the prophetic vision for change will not come. If we are without a harvest—without the richness of community, the resources for wellbeing, the fruits of wisdom—hope might not form. If we are without growth from seed to self, from fear to freedom, from apathy to love, we might miss the abundance of the harvest.
And if we are without rain—without the water and breath essential to life, without the respite of cool grace to ease the burns of struggle, without the clouds to pour over the maddening world until it stills—without rain, we might not grow.
God have mercy, we need rain! Upon the earth, upon our bodies, upon our spirits, upon our communities. We need rain and relief—for the sake of your vision.
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and the co-author of Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.