Monday, August 31, 2015

Pentecost 15 B - Isaiah 35:4-7

Isaiah 35:4-7
Isaiah 35 begins with the parched land rejoicing and ends with the ransomed of the Lord returning unto Zion with singing as they are overtaken by joy and gladness. Between the parched land rejoicing and the ransomed returning are feeble hands and weak knees and fearful hearts that long for redemption. But since the chapter begins and ends with a promise Isaiah can say, “Be strong” to the feeble and weak and fearful instead of “suck it up.” The ability to “be strong” comes from living into the future promise in whatever circumstance we find ourselves so that hands and knees become steady even when the ground is shaking. We are able to endure because we believe the present difficulty will be overcome by the future promise. It means we can deal with what is because we anticipate what will be. In the here and now the blind are still blind. The deaf still cannot hear. The lame still limp and the dumb are still speechless. It is as simple and as difficult as that because we are more accustomed to “suck it up” than what Isaiah means by “be strong” or perhaps we think they are the same thing and therefore are always running too fast in the present for the future to catch up. But when God’s ultimate vision becomes our eternal imagination the future bursts into the present like a rainstorm in the desert and the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame leap and the dumb shout for joy. What will be already is when by faith we stop “sucking it up” and allow the “be strong” of future gladness to overtake us. 

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