By Rev. Carrie Irwin
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Is. 43:18-19
Years ago, when I was quite young, John and I spent several years living in some pretty exciting and deliciously warm countries. While I have all the excitement I need living in Canada now, with parish ministry to keep me busy, the deliciously warm weather of our expatriate life is something I sometimes yearn for, especially as we sit in the midst of winter!
As I sat to write this article, my mind wandered back to those days, as is apt to happen at this time of the year I suppose, when we ponder the years past, and speculate on the wonders of the year ahead. Staring out the window, looking at a very different landscape than that of my past, I revisited a memory or two.
The above scripture was the catalyst for my memories, with it’s promise of ways and rivers. In the late 1980’s while living in Georgetown Guyana, John and I made a number of trips into the rainforest, to visit Amerindian villages, and see the famous Kaieter Falls. On one such visit, after an hour of walking, we came upon an unexpected sight; a path in the middle of the rainforest with stone walkways, and even a staircase or two! With a canopy of trees overhead so thick that no sunshine filtered through, and nothing around us but trees, vines, and evidence of a family of baboons, there was a pathway. I can still see it today, and it completely distracted me from the bite marks on the fresh mangos from the baboons! “I will make a way in the wilderness…”
A few years later, John and I with two small babies moved to Kuwait, a country of endless desert, on the Persian Gulf. There too we saw and experienced some amazing events, but the most extraordinary was the unexpected early morning flowering of thousands upon thousands of small flowers blooming across the desert after a heavy downpouring of rain the day before. The combination of moisture, and warmth rather than scorching heat created a miraculous sight, as flowers covered the desert, and streams of water found their way throughs the sand. “I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
Like the pathway in the rainforests of Guyana, and the rivers of water in the deserts of Kuwait, God shows up in the most unexpected places of our lives, waiting patiently for us to see God at work in our world and through our lives. As we think back on the year past, giving thanks for those moments of great joy, giving thanks for the strength that filled us as we walked through moments of great sorrow, giving thanks for the light that has been shone in the world for all to see, I offer this simple prayer for the New Year.
Lord, You make all things new, you bring hope alive in our hearts and cause our Spirits to be born anew.
Thank you for this New Year and for all the potential it holds. Come and kindle in us a mighty flame so that in our time, many will know the power and wonder of your name. God, you are with us, make all things new, as we forever praise Your glorious name. Amen.
Rev. Carrie Irwin is rector at the Regional Ministry of Saugeen Shores, Tara and Chatsworth, regional dean of the Saugeens and Anglican Fellowship of Prayer executive (North).