“I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
“Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:6)
The last chapters of Isaiah are written amidst the contention of a people destroyed, taken into exile in Babylon, yet finally restored to their homeland – to Jerusalem, God’s holy mountain; there they must create themselves anew. It is easy for us to imagine this contention, given our own circumstances today. In the midst of the Hebrew peoples’ turmoil, the prophet’s expansive imagination nevertheless paints a picture of God rejoicing in the possibilities of God’s people, who will become a “delight” (v.18).
We seem to live in the spin of a bleak and unending news cycle that makes it difficult to think a creator God might, “be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating.” Particularly after the wrenching murders at Parkland, it’s hard to imagine God delighting in us, or to countenance that the sound of weeping and the cry of distress will be heard no more, as the prophet foresees (v. 19). And yet, as people of faith, our imaginations also leap toward hope and hopefulness,
As today’s psalmist says so well, “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning” (30:6). And it is not the prophet’s diatribes and denunciations, but rather Isaiah’s ecstatic visions that ring in our hearts and heads: “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)
And a little child shall lead them.
We are called to be God’s holy mountain. May our own imaginations expand to the task, and may our children lead us there.
“Our worship is over, our service has begun. God sends us into the world to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.” (Dismissal used at St. Martin’s by the Lake Episcopal Church, Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota.)
Appointed readings for today: Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 30:1-6, 11-13, John 4:43-54