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Spiritual Growth

A Rendezvous with God Part 1: Women Putting Out Clay Jars

By Glory E. Dharmaraj

Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for God is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether God will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind God,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord, your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
assemble the aged;
gather the children,
even infants at the breast.
Let the bridgegroom leave his room,
and the bride her canopy.

Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and do not make your heritage a mockery,
a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
Joel 2:12-17

I wrote this reflection from the Methodist Center in Mumbai (Bombay) India, where I stayed for a couple of days during a recent visit with my family.

Before I arrived in Mumbai, I crisscrossed southern India to meet with family members. The weather there is often chilly, dew falling overnight. My trip fell during the season of dew. As I traveled across southern India, I heard about women in remote villages who put clay jars out in yards in front of their houses to collect the dew.

In the comfort of the guest room in the Methodist Center, I visualized these women emptying their jars and placing them at the disposal of the heavens every night to be filled with the moisture of the dew. I visualized the women taking these jars back into their homes in the morning, emptying them for the next night.

Wise women know when to keep their jars empty for the falling dew from heaven to fill them.

Create in me a clean heart O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take away your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. Amen.
Psalm 51:10-12

*Glory E. Dharmaraj, Ph.D., is director of spiritual formation and mission theology for the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.

Last Updated: 04/08/2010

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