March 28, 2022
Monday of the Fourth week of Lent
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we receive a perfect encouragement from Isaiah:
Walter Brueggemann calls Isaiah 65 “a glorious artistic achievement”. Indeed, these images confirm his statement:
- a new heavens and a new earth;
- constant rejoicing and happiness
- people will be a delight
- no weeping or crying;
- long life for all
- everyone with a home
- enough for all to eat
As we pray with this passage today, we may experience a longing for a return to our beautiful, safe world – a world before pandemic, a world before the specter of WW III. In today’s violent and besieged environment, we all pray from a place of anxiety, loss, constraint, or some degree of suffering.
Isaiah’s community prayed from the same place. All the beautiful images were a promise not yet realized. The prophetic poetry of Isaiah is a call to courageous hope, not a description of current circumstances.
Faith invites us, even as we experience a bittersweet longing, to trust that God is with us, teaching us and leading us deeper into the Divine Understanding. Even as circumstances turn our world upside down, God will guide the falling pieces to a blessed place if we commit to find God in the tumbling.
I don’t think many of us would deny that the world has needed fixing for a long, long time. The systems we have built leave many in deficit throughout the world, and we have failed to address the wound.
War, pandemic, forced migration of the poor, climate catastrophe all have laid that failure bare.
As we pray for resolutions to these sufferings, may we be opened to an irrevocable awareness of our common humanity and responsibility for one another.
Only by such an outcome will we move closer to Isaiah’s peaceful Kingdom. Only by our courage to embrace it, can God fulfill the Promise in us.
Poetry: by Emily Dickinson
I many times thought Peace had come
When Peace was far away —
As Wrecked Men — deem they sight the Land —
At Centre of the Sea —
And struggle slacker — but to prove
As hopelessly as I —
How many the fictitious Shores —
Before the Harbor lie —
Music: O Day of Peace – Carl P. Daw