The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
Rain clouds lie low, hugging the land in cool embrace, flattening the light, pushing against the desert, the thirsty desert. Coaxing out the green. And the desert complies. Not shy, not tentative. Bursting greedily from the rocks, from the shadows, from the hidden places. Reaching for fullness from the moisture. Stretching accordion folds to accomodate the gift, the blessing of water. Life giving, soul sustaining water.
The desert is always beautiful. Sometimes fiercely so. In the heat of summer, in the dry, arid oven of June, before the monsoons, before the humidity rides up from the gulf. Fierce and protective. With spines and thorns. With razor rocks and slippery scree.
"Beware!", it cries. "Take care!"
There is life here. A hard life. A difficult life. A life of scrimping and saving, of hiding away, of pushing away. A life of hiding from the light - the harsh, glaring, burning light.
Above the desert, hanging like a priceless chandelier in the night, are a million crystal stars. A million million priceless gems, scattered, patterned, lovingly placed in the heavens. Beauty in the darkness. In the cool - a daily oasis. Respite. Above the desert, the sky - the blue, blue sky - Arizona blue - suspended between mountain horizons on a celestial canvas.
"Come!", it calls. "Come and learn of beauty - deadly beauty, life-sustaining beauty, wild beauty."
When rain comes to the desert, it transforms. It becomes radiant - muted glare bright with color. Full. Satiated. Abundant. When Christ comes to us, we transform. Come, he says, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Like the desert, rejoice!
Heavenly Father, God of the Desert, thank you for your mighty hand of creation. Thank you for Jesus, who transforms us from desert to abundant life.