Reflection March 25
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
Isaiah 55, 1-3
The truth in these words leave me both despondent and hopeful....
The picture is from the Old City, Sanaa’, Yemen, Summer 2005
I remember a time in my life, indisputably distant from this one, when distractions were few, inhabiting a marketplace where currency afforded little more than the staple provisions of chicken and bread. In a span of three months God exposed me to the habitual practice of meaningful discussion with men of faith…because the ritualistic practice of faith was the only thing meaningful and abundant in a city with the greatest poverty, in one of the most desperate, ill-resourced lands ever formed.
True, it wasn’t men who shared the same faith, but nonetheless, I witnessed piety and faithful observances that laid conviction on my heart. Though illiterate, my adopted city challenged the depths of my personal faith by bombarding me with its citizens that enthusiastically and reverently recited verses, chapters, and books verbatim. The obligatory hospitality of meals and entertainment was rigorously applied by these hosts, even to a Christian interloper like myself. Such a festive revelry could last for days, even when it could be ill-afforded. And the value of family, the bedrock of one’s history and future was tested and refined in times of war, famine, and sometimes during the occasional respite from these norms.
I felt as though I had been brought low. God had illuminated the depth of conviction He desired of me. In a city lacking modern prosperity and comfort, where rolling blackouts and poor governance blighted the landscape, it’s citizenry applied its attention to what it could readily afford, to something it could procure more abundantly than any rivals- the disciplines of faith.
Ever since that dream’s conclusion, when I look at the scales that weigh my sacrifices to render a tempered faith against those I witnessed through the inhabitants of that arid, mountainous, country, I find imbalance-I’m several grains short.
And yet, I’m reminded that my Creator by his very character is full of love and grace…the depth of which would tear me asunder if I understood their true nature.
Today, I’m a man blessed by a loving wife to have two children, both of whom hold infinite promise, far beyond my own. And almost five years ago when I was afforded the honor of instilling Remmy with her middle name, Sanaa’ seemed to capture the mettle of that faithful devotion to Christ that her parents desired.