Loving the Rain

I love the rain.  It brings back so many happy memories from my childhood, especially of when I was in high school.  We used to play mud football, go mud sliding on the hill behind the high school, play mini golf on deserted, half-flooded courses.  One memory in particular stands out among the rest.  It was the night before my 18th birthday.  We had grand plans: mud football during the day, followed by Chicago style pizza and mini golf shenanigans in the evening.  The only problem was that it hadn’t rained in quite some time.  And as you would expect, rain is a necessary prerequisite for mud football.  But that night, the heavens opened.  It poured, and I mean hard, pelting rain, which was exactly what we needed.  A simple drizzle wouldn’t have been enough, we needed rain that penetrated and permeated the ground, soaking what was parched and dry, and that is exactly what we got.  We met at the field the next morning, it was still raining quite heavily, and lo and behold, what was a dry and cracked patch of grass the day before, had been transformed into a slippy, slidey, muddy wonderland.  After about two hours of playing, we were all covered head to toe with mud.  My white car was also targeted, and ended up with many handprints, smears, and a few full-body outlines as well.

As I’ve listened to the sporadic rain over the past week or so, Grace Like Rain, a song that we used to sing at Wednesday night Commonground chapel services at Cal Lutheran, has popped into my head more than once.  Rain is a metaphor that is often used to talk about God’s grace and love.  Most of the time, I like to picture it as a gentle drizzle, indiscriminate in where it falls, who it falls on; an equal opportunity agent.  And there’s some great theology in that picture – God’s love as a gift freely given to all.  But God’s love isn’t always that peaceful, pleasant drizzle.  Sometimes it comes in torrential downpours; hard, pelting drops.  How else could it permeate us when we are dry and cracked?

Just like that field from my childhood, there are times when a light drizzle simply will not do.  After the events of 2020, and with how this year has gone so far, I will admit that I have been feeling quite dry at times, quite parched and wrung out.  Many of you might be feeling the same way.  Bone-weary from the grief, from the loss, from the weight of living during this pandemic.  Exhausted from adapting and readapting, pivoting and repivoting more times than we can count.  Discouraged and dismayed at the pervasiveness of systemic sin – the violence, hatred, fear, and oppression – that still exists in our world today.  But ours is a God who does wonders with what is parched and dry.  Ours is a God who breathes life into dry bones.  Ours is a God who showers us, sometimes pelts us, with love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.  A God from whom flows the water of everlasting life.  Water that truly quenches thirst.  Water that transforms the dry, cracked places of this world – the dry, cracked parts of ourselves – into slippy, slidey, muddy wonderlands of grace, joy, and love.

So, I pray that when God’s rain comes, you do not reach for your umbrella, or your raincoat and galoshes.  But instead, that you allow it to rehydrate, reenergize, and revitalize you.  So that we can continue with the work that we have been called to with wet and soggy souls that drip grace, mercy, and love wherever we go.

Rainy Day Blessings,
Pastor Sam