Isaiah 35 was written to the children of Israel in exile, weeping by the rivers of Babylon, tormented by their captors who demanded they sing happy songs of Zion. It is a vision of a better day, a promise for those who were worn down by adversity, weakened by suffering, feeble and fearful of heart, without help, without hope. In the vision cast by the waters of Babylon a new song of Zion is composed where the wilderness rejoices in the glory of the Lord revealed and a way is made through the burning sand and haunt of jackals so that even those who don’t have a lick of sense will not get lost on the holy highway. Of course, a good portion of those whose hands were strengthened and knees steadied by the hope of the promise died by the river where they wept. But for their children born in Babylon the promise did come true and they returned to Zion singing the songs their parents taught them which would have been forgotten forever if their captors tormenting them had not demanded they sing them. As it was for them so it is for us; a promise for unsteady hands and knees that give way, hope for all held captive to doubt and fear, trial and trouble, a promise that inspires holy imagination where sorrow flees from the promise of everlasting joy. Sing the songs of Zion, songs of hope and happiness, joy and peace, even if you are weeping by the waters of your own Babylon for the children are listening and learning. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.