Listen to the Whispers

Besides the sturdy oak trees
most of the leaves have fallen.
Although we’ve walked these paths
hundreds of times
everything looks strange and new.

Without the foliage I dream up
angels perched upon the limbs
protecting passers-by and
whispering quiet
messages of God’s love.

This time I am more intensely
aware of this public land which
anyone is welcome to walk
with a companion
or contemplate life.

I’m feeling grateful that these trees,
grasses, and shrubs, as well as the
earth and the sky above,
are for the pleasure
of all who pass through.

Not just for a few who lay claim.

Isaiah 2:1-5 (CEB)

2 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

While reading Holy Envy by Barbara Brown Taylor my heart was exposed a little more. In this book she shares experiences of teaching Religion of the World 101 to classes at a private liberal arts college in the foothills of the Appalachians. Most students were raised evangelical Christian. Learning basics of the Jewish and Muslim faiths could be quite jolting in contrast to previous understandings. It was in personal encounters with faithful people on field trips to various worship centers that they were able to open their minds to new ideas. They were reminded not to lay claim to God as theirs alone.

With open hearts the Season of Advent scriptures and music have the potential to nourish us to see beyond old understandings. Being unafraid to connect with people outside our usual circles and ask wondering questions of them soften our hearts as well.

We pray for you and give thanks for adding your faith story to the whole of humanity.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, guide us to walk in the Light of Christ.

Rev. Marta Wheeler

To view or download a PDF version of this devotional, click here:  Devotional MW 2022-11-23