Hope Springs Forth

Hope Springs Forth
Mother and son praying at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem

Ezekiel 47:1-2

The season of Advent is one of hope—hope that with a new beginning the world will be better. In today’s passage, we see that the Hebrew people are no strangers to this kind of hope. Ezekiel saw a vision of a new temple and life-sustaining water flowing from it. Water is a symbol of hope that we find throughout the Bible, and this particular passage is most picturesque—a river flowing through the Jordan Valley providing sustenance for all. The best part is that it is from God—straight from the Holy of Holies. Ezekiel’s vision is of God’s provision and love of paradise.

However, when I first read this passage, it was difficult to find anything hopeful. I immediately recalled places in our world that were devastated by too much water due to natural disasters. The passage shows a picture of new water flowing and paradise for the Hebrew people of the desert. What a stark contrast to the new waters flowing on the East Coast or Midwest or Haiti or other Caribbean islands. People perished, houses were destroyed, and crops were drowned. Even with such turmoil this season, I still can catch a glimpse of hope—of paradise in the aftermath. You see, my hope is for a time and place where everyone can feel the love of God, where there is peace and plenty for all to eat. I guess pretty close to what Ezekiel was trying to convey to the Hebrew people.

Hope springs forth when I hear stories about people who put aside their own needs to help victims of the floods, when people take time from their normal lives to go help rebuild, when youth groups collect supplies to send to the folks who now don’t have anything. We all have the capacity to care for each other in the way God intends.

While sometimes it takes a natural disaster to remind us, we also know we can show God’s love every day to those around us, and maybe someday we will have the paradise that Ezekiel hoped for.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your love. Help me this day and every day to show a little bit of Your paradise to the people around me. Amen.

Amanda Heeren is a member of Program Advisory Group from Iowa Conference United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 12/13/2016 11:00:00 PM

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United States: Rwanda Gift for Life, Inc.: Provision of health and income generation support to women who were raped during the genocide and are now living with AIDS

Testimony for Dec. 11-17:

Each teen residing in the Near Northside neighborhood need to hear words of hope, love, and affirmation; mentors remind these youth who are often considered “the least of us” that they are, indeed, precious in God’s sight and created in Christ’s image. -Wesley Community Center, Houston, Texas.
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