Good morning all! Sorry I am a bit later today. I have really been struggling with sickness this week which prolonged my writing this morning. Send up good healing vibes for me please.
Today’s scripture: Isaiah 54: 7-10 (The Message)
Your Redeemer God says:
“I left you, but only for a moment.
Now, with enormous compassion, I’m bringing you back.
In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you-
but only for a moment.
It’s with lasting love that I’m tenderly caring for you.
“This exile is just like the days of Noah for me:
I promised then that the waters of Noah
would never again flood the earth.
I’m promising now no more anger,
no more dressing you down.
For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
The God who has compassion on you says so.
We land today in Isaiah but not the usual Isaiah Advent-y type of passage. Today’s passage is God speaking to God’s people about coming back to get them. The people of Israel have been in exile for a generation and a half. In fact may of our prophets deal with the issue of exile. They struggle with the question of, where is God? Has God left us? The prophet Jeremiah tells the people finally to go ahead and set up homes in exile, create families, plant gardens, and live. Ezekiel deals with exile in his visions. God still appears even in exile. And in the beginning of Isaiah, exilic people are given great hope about how God will lead them forward.
I can sometimes relate to living in exile. Can you? Are there times when you feel forgotten and out of place? Where you yearn for what was before? Are there times when you question God about showing up? When will God show up and get me?
But in this passage there is warmth and joy because God is proclaiming that there will be space for the exiled people. There will be community where there wasn’t community before. There will be good food and joy because God is coming back to bring them home. God reminds us today that God only left for a moment but not really. God is still a God who works with humans over and over and over again.
And what would that kind of home and warmth look like to you? What kind of reunion will God provide? In a way, this makes a good scripture to remember today. Even when you feel as though God has left you…in this exiled feeling in Advent…in the waiting…in the questioning….God really hasn’t. God is coming back to get you and rejoice with you. We have both feelings during this season of Advent. This is part of why I love Advent. There is ritual in that feeling of exile and being welcomed back over and over again. It is with God. It is a with activity…as I call things around my house.
When have those times been for you? Exile and then God showing up to walk with you? May this be a constant ebb and flow during the season. Know that you are not alone. God promises that God will never leave you again. Take peace in that.