Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Gaudete Sunday

December 8th, 2016 · No Comments · Faith and the City

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.

–Isaiah 35

Friends in Christ,

The Third Sunday of Advent is upon us. Tradition calls this Gaudete (gow-da-tay) Sunday. It is the Day of Joy. Isaiah 35 will be our guide this Gaudete.

Christmas CactusEvery time I read Isaiah’s prophesy, I think of my mother. She was one of those obsessive gardeners who could fool around (all year long) with a Christmas cactus. Shuttling it from room to room, closely monitoring its water, wrapping its stems in aluminum foil, Mom was determined to get the succulent plant to bloom for Christmas.

I wrote a little poem (below) to capture her efforts. This Sunday, I look forward to talking with you about joy: What is it? Where do we find it? Why do our hearts depend on it?

See you in worship,


christmas cactus

year long, she cultivates
saw-toothed tendrils
herding their greenness
toward december

a vigilant finger
polices the sandy soil
pokes down an inch
to feel the damp

the clay pot shuttles
from window to window
chasing measured doses
of an indirect sun

all in a gardener’s hope
that her home
would be graced by
an advent blooming

red-spouted trumpets
heralding the season
calling parched folk
to attend the baby god

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