In Praise of Joshua Trees

Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson

We’ve had some real heat lately, though not as severe as much of the country.  It has been mostly a desert heat, as it should be – it is where we live, after all.  Some of the severe weather in the country may be due to the fact of climate change and is a reminder that we need to alter our ways of living, and learn to live with the earth more than from the earth.

Deserts figure centrally in the development of religion, and deserts have been places where seekers have gone for vision.  There is something cleansing about the desert, something elemental, something beautiful in its sparseness. I love the desert and Joshua Tree is one of my sacred places.  I pay attention when I am there, and paying attention is at the heart of the religious life.

I carry Joshua Tree with me in memory and thought, but also in spirit as I try to clear away some of the excess in my life, letting the winds of spiritual renewal blow.  Like the Joshua trees, I raise my arms to the heavens in praise of the earth, reminding me to care for the earth and all its inhabitants.

Perhaps you have some place you carry with you, some place that reminds you that you belong and that nourishes your spirit.  Hold on to those places; we can’t be fully human without them. This Sunday, on September 9, we will return to two services at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.  It is an intergenerational service, and our two ministerial interns, Christina Shu and Peter Farriday, will take part.  Come and meet Peter, and welcome Christina back after the summer.

See You Sunday,


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One Response to In Praise of Joshua Trees

  1. Sara Willard says:

    The very first poem I wrote was on the desert (in 8th grade).

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