I love canoeing. I don't do it quite as much as I used to because I have lost two very dear friends on the water in the last couple years, but I still love floating on a river. It's quiet, and I like quiet. It's calm, and sometimes I like calm. But every now and then, the river I'm floating gets a little wild, lots of water moving through it, and there are places where that water is concentrated in a smaller area. What happens when that happens? The water gets faster. But then as the summer goes on, the river begins to dry up a little, and a float then will mean you have to get out and drag the canoe across places you used to be able to float across. In places, it's almost like there's no river at all, but just wait, the rains will come, and it will start flowing again.
Finally, there is a little good news out of the Old Testement this morning. Amos is giving Israel what for, and evidently God has told him to. Chapters 7 and 8 in the book of Amos are absolutely horrible. Amos is being told what all is going to happen to Israel, and I can't imagine what he must have been feeling, knowing that he was supposed to go back and tell them all of that.
But then, in chapter 9, the mood shifts a little. Actually, the mood shifts a lot. God says, "The days are coming when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills."
Now Amos is surely not writing about rivers actually running full of wine, although a glass every now and then might be good for the stomach, but of rivers of new life being sent into a very dry land. That sounds pretty cool to me.
This new adventure that we're on is a lot like those rivers. They're not flowing with wine dripping from the mountains, but with new beginnings, second chances, hope where there wasn't any, help when it's needed, love where all you might have known is hate, acceptance no matter who you are, peace in your soul where all you might have known is chaos, rest when you're tired, encouragment when you're down, and cool, clean water washing the old away.
So, if you're ready for your rivers to start flowing again, come with us. If you're tired of dry and thirsty, come with us. I know where there are rivers beginning to flow again, alabaster jars that are being broken, and a brand new beginning for anyone who may be looking.