November 12, 2020
"I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten . . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you" (Joel 2:25-26). About two weeks ago, I looked to the west and was stunned by the beauty of the mountains above us. While marveling at such beauty is normally a daily occurrence here, for several weeks our views from Berthoud to the west toward Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak, the Twin Sisters, and the Indian Peaks had been obscured by smoke and haze from rampant wildfires. Scenes of smoke billowing from the Cameron Peak Fire over us felt ominous. We could have prayed quite literally along with the prophet Joel, "To you, O Lord, I cry. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flames have burned all the trees of the field" (Joel 1:19-20).
Now, thanks to generous amounts of snow coming to aid our intrepid firefighters, the fires have died down and our skies are clear. The sight of snow-covered mountains below clear blue skies feels like a glimpse of new creation. Today's Old Testament reading from Joel likewise pictures relief and renewal for all creation following a time of devastation. The soil is told to rejoice and be glad (2:21), animals are given green pastures (2:22), and God's people are promised restoration of what they've lost (2:25). This is good news: God is able to restore all that is lost, repair all that is broken, heal all that is wounded. We believe this because Jesus rose from the dead. He has delivered us from the power of death and we can trust that life through Jesus Christ will always have the final word in our stories. Whatever you have lost this year, may the Holy Spirit fill you with hope for the day of restoration through the One who makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).
Grace and Peace,