Isaiah 58:11
and make your bones strong…

Reflection by Br. Chris McNabb

The church where I serve as Priest in Charge has a 10,000 square foot garden that feeds the hungry in our community. We see the tangible, real-world ways in which water, weeding, and care provide us with beautiful plants that yield fruit and vegetables for those people in our community. If you look closely, the concept of “garden” is often used in scripture. Of course, the most notable is the Garden of Eden; the place where God desired us to begin our lives together. Of course, our hunger to fill our own needs ahead of our neighbors destroyed the possibility of living in the garden forever.

In our reading from Isaiah, the Divine provides water in the parched place because care was given to the vulnerable (Isaiah 58: 7-8). This of course begs the question: who are the vulnerable among us today? Throughout the various election cycles, the needs of immigrants, first responders, veterans, and others are politicized in an effort to win votes. Once politicians enter office, are the needs of these communities met? Sadly, too often the answer is no. For years immigration reform has been caught in a tennis match between warring factions.

As President Biden prepared to take office, he joined a fundraiser for Jesuit Refugee Services where he announced, under his leadership, our country would increase the number of refugees we’ll accept. As a man of faith, President Biden believes welcoming the refugee is critical to his faith and by extension the overall health of our nation. As we seek to heal our nation, I hope we can join together to meet the needs of refugees and many other vulnerable communities. In this way, I hope we might find our way back to wholeness. I hope as individuals, as a church, and as a nation we’ll live into the words of Isaiah 58:11: “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.”


Br. Christopher McNabb is the Priest in Charge of St. Francis Episcopal Church, a congregation on the south shore of Long Island, serving the hungry in the community through a 10,000 square foot organic garden. Br. Chris is passionate about creating authentic & transformational Christian communities serving immigrant communities and first responders.

Reflections on Stations of the Cross:

As we prepare to enter Holy Week, Episcopal Migration Ministries offers individuals and congregations an opportunity to journey the Stations of the Cross. A digital booklet and compilation of audio meditations is available for download.