The weatherman called it a “Pineapple Express:” a meteorological phenomenon characterized by a strong and persistent flow of atmospheric moisture and associated heavy rainfall from the waters adjacent to the Hawaiian Islands and extending to any location along the Pacific coast (thank you, Wikipedia). My Grandpa George would simply have called it “liquid sunshine.” That day I heard other descriptive terminology from those who were not quite so positive in their regard. But whatever label used, Monday’s weather created a humid, warm layer of precipitation - the kind that keeps our Seattle vegetation green and lush.
For me, it was a tangible means of grace. I’ve been living in the text of Isaiah 55 recently – reading, chewing each word, proclaiming it aloud to our cat (the only willing nearby listener) and to myself, writing it out letter by letter, pondering, discussing, and ultimately praying this scripture. Much of my prayer focus has been concerning CBTE’s new online Lectio: Guided Bible Reading beginning in Genesis this week, an intentional plan to put the broader SPU community (and any who want to join us) literally on the same page of scripture each week. If you haven’t yet read our first installment, Frank Spina’s “Introduction to Scripture,” let me encourage you to do so.
So Monday morning I was praying over our launch of the Lectio, walking across the SPU campus with a sticky wet face and damp frizzy hair when it struck me. This mist-like rain blanketing our campus, our city, and beyond was an Isaiah-shaped gift from God for a sprouting, seed-bearing, bread-producing purpose. And this meteorological reality illustrated God’s word proclaimed. I continue to exult in this promise and prayerfully anticipate its fulfillment as it rings in my heart and mind:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 10 -11
May it be so. And may the Lectio be a useful tool in this life-giving process. Amen.
The Rev. Celeste Cranston
Director of the Center for Biblical and Theological Education
Seattle Pacific University