Cleanser from Heaven


Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15


Today’s passage from Isaiah uses the image of rains coming down to nourish the earth and in turn to help produce our food to describe the word of God.  But rains have another effect:  they help cleanse the earth, too.

I thought of that second effect early this morning as we in Chicago and elsewhere in this part of the country were receiving some heavy showers.  Forecasters were predicting several inches of rain and the risk of flooding.  This is not normal February weather, but it was a little easier take when I realized that the alternative was a couple of feet of snow!

Rains are welcome this time of year.  Even if they largely fail to nourish the earth because it’s still frozen and rather impermeable, they help to wash away the accumulated grime that comes when snow piles become the catch basins for the soot from car exhausts, the slushy residue of road salt and innumerable bottles, cans, bags and wrappers.  It’s almost as if the earth is being primed for spring, though any Midwesterner will remind you that snow is a possibility even into May! 

Jesus’ recommendation of what we’ve come to know as the Lord’s Prayer is similarly cleansing.  It helps to scrub us of any pretense in prayer and to keep things simple. I don’t need to clutter things up with too many words.  God can already read what’s on my mind and in my heart. JC