Encountering drought in one’s soul
Washington State is experiencing drought, and for the first time in ages, Western Washington is being impacted. When most people think of Seattle, they think of rain, lots of rain. Anyone who would choose to live in the Puget Sound region, better like rain, we tell our visitors. We love lush green forests, and rushing streams. We love the mist that rises over our lakes and rivers, and we love our foggy days. In other words, we Western Washington folk love our rain!
Drought has had a significant impact on whole civilizations, even being responsible for the total abandonment of great cities, now buried beneath the sands of history. The Great Dust Bowl led to the mass migration of our own people, as farms and towns were gobbled up by dust storms, having a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of families. And, I don’t have to remind people of the devastation by fire that impacted California, these past few years.
As we all meditate on the dire possibilities, should this Pacific Northwest drought continue, it is perhaps a good time to take a look at another type of drought, one that impacts the souls of believers. Periods of spiritual dryness come to all of us, and just as the earth is impacted, with the death of plants and animals, so too can this spiritual drought bring death to the soul.
The image of the nineteenth century “rainmaker” comes to my mind, when traveling entrepreneurs managed to garner sums of money from local townspeople and farmers, with the promise of “making rain”. The desperate locals would fork over their remaining meager savings in the hopes of bringing the much needed rain for their crops, and dried up wells.
During periods of spiritual dryness, people tend to look in all the wrong directions, in a desperate attempt to quench their thirst for the meaning of life. Trying to fill a spiritual void, they look to entertainment, material goods, and worldly abandon, hoping to quench the drought they sense has taken hold of them. Like the farmers and townspeople of the Dust Bowl, they pay money to the “rainmakers” of pop music, entertainment, and material goods, all in a desperate attempt to find meaning to their lives, all the while ignoring the ocean of Living Water that resides within.
With love in Christ,
Thursday June 13, 2019 / May 31, 2019
Afterfeast of the Ascension. Tone six.
Venerable David of the Gareji Monastery and Lukiane, Georgia (6th-7th c.) (movable holiday on the Thursday of Holy Ascension).
Apostle Hermes of the Seventy (1st c.).
Martyr Hermias at Comana (160).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Philosoph Ornatsky with his sons Boris and Nicholas, in St. Petersburg (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Hierotheus, bishop of Nikolsk (1928), and his friend Hieroschemamonk Seraphim (Nikolsky) (1923).
Martyr Philosophus at Alexandria (252).
Martyr Marus the Magician who was converted on witnessing the martyrdom of Hermias.
Five Martyrs of Ascalon (Greek).
Martyrs Eusebius and Charalampus (Greek).
St. Eustathius, patriarch of Constantinople (1025).
Finding of the relics of New Martyr Nicholas the Deacon of Lesbos.
Translation of the relics (1591) of St. Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow (1569), to Solovki.
St. Philotheus, metropolitan of Tobolsk (1727).
The Scripture Readings
Paul Before Agrippa
13 And after some days King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus. 14 When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying: “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, 15 about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him. 16 To them I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’ 17 Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed, 19 but had some questions against him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World
25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, thatin Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”