Week 2 - Isaiah 40:1-11
Imagine blacks in America being told their years of oppression and racism were over. Not just over with words and placards, but in policy and in the deepest heart of every citizen, as if an inner highway everywhere was emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” logos that came true every time someone even looked at it.
Or imagine your own times of disorientation, when perhaps in your darkest hours you’ve “wept bitterly”, as if into an empty sky, with no one to truly comfort and provide hope. People wished you well but nothing really helped. After a long period of grief and dismay, your shame is gone and whatever caused your pit of grief has been leveled out. The healing happens with possibilities you couldn’t have imagined. With a newly paved superhighway, the return home is “dramatic, easy, and speedy."
This is the new decree of comfort we’re going to ponder this week. And it’s sorely needed. These words from Brueggemann, written in ’98, are just as relevant today: “The theme of homecoming is uncommonly pertinent in our current social setting where many sense themselves dislocated as our familiar world vanishes.” Isaiah’s poetry offers all exiles a vision of wholeness which spells freedom, peace and at-homeness. With both a warrior's majesty and a shepherd's mercy, God’s good news breaks in and penetrates the emptiness of exile. His word is not like grass that is withers or flowers that fade (the way people’s words are), but is enormously durable and stands forever. His very presence changes everything.
Reading: Brueggemann pages 1-21
Questions for Reflection
- Describe a time when you were in exile or had wandered away from your truest self or abandoned your deepest values.
- Describe a homecoming where something in yourself or the world was healed.
- Describe a vision of wholeness you have for Watershed. Or for our city; our neighbourhood; someone you know who is going through a tough time…or any other situation that comes to mind.
Photo by César Couto on Unsplash