Desert Flowers

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"A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn..."

This week of Advent navigates around our experience of joy, particularly joy in unexpected places. On December 4th, The Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would not grant the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to run under the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe water source and through their native burial ground. After months of brutal treatment by militarized police forces, watching the leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe announce the news was a remarkable and joyous moment. Today, however, Energy Transfers Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners, who are responsible for the pipeline project, further declared their plans to complete the pipeline, stating that they "fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe." The threat of our planet's exploitation and the subjugation of humanity in order for a few people to profit is grievously as true today as it was yesterday. 

"This is a temporary victory, but the power of the people is never temporary."
-Josh Fox, Filmmaker

This is the Advent world we live in---a world moved by hope towards healing and justice, while also being broken daily by violence, war, injustice, illness, and financial exploitation. We recognize that our current reality is not what it should be and not what it can become. During this Advent season, we are truly a weary world rejoicing. Weary of our efforts for justice being threatened by those with big pockets. Rejoicing in our small victories that proclaim life-to-the-fullest for all people.

Our Advent text this week in the Hebrew Scriptures is Isaiah 35:1-10. In this text, Isaiah tells us a promise of God's vision of creation as a desert bursting into life with flowers and celebration. He writes, "Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, Lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song." The Advent season is about us possessing a defiant hope that our world of marginalization, financial inequality, broken criminal justice systems, racism, and military occupation is not the world to come and not the world we are capable of building.

The Advent itself invades our lives to fiercely remind us that God does not appear in the fire, the storm, or our presidential candidate of choice. Rather, God springs forth like a flower in the desert and comes to us as a child in a cave outside a forgotten town. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear God in the unexpected this season. 

~Ryan