Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes. – Isaiah 58:10-12
It’s shortly after sunrise on the weekend, half light, probably my favorite time of any day. The air is fresh, damp, and misty around the rich plantings in the church garden. I’m not a natural early riser, but there is something deep and, meditative, and calming about being here when the campus is deserted. It’s just me and God.
Me and God, and the plants are mediators between us. I like that imagery.
We have three gardens at the church. One is meditative, restful, and lush – full with roses, grasses, and a flowering English border – designed as a place of memorial and celebration, remembering lives that intersected with ours here at WFPC. Another is full with produce, designed for sharing. The third belongs to the children, outside Rebekah’s office window, designed with enthusiasm and love.
I believe all the gardens are important. Because there is no point in meditation if it doesn’t bring us any closer to the generous heart of God, into celebration, and spurring us to practice more love for God’s children, love applied with all the prayer and enthusiasm we can muster.
That’s how the Isaiah scripture speaks to me. God makes us like a well-watered garden, an ever-flowing spring. But not so we can merely breathe deeply and luxuriate in the “God and me” aspect, enjoying spirituality for its own sake… for our own sake. No, we are called, as Isaiah reads, to:
- Feed the hungry;
- Help those in trouble;
- Shine into the darkness;
- Rebuild the ruins of cities;
- Restore homes.
This is why God waters us. So we can love him like that. So we can love on God’s children in creative, purposeful service. “You will be known as Restorer of Homes.”
That is one more powerful word for this time.
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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.