JKPC

Community in Action November 16, 2020

Yesterday I shared with the congregation in our service some of the new things I learned about Isaiah 40:1-5. This section in Isaiah was about the returning of the Israelites to their home land. It was about the ending of their exile, which they had experienced the last forty-five years, at that time a whole generation, and the starting of life over again.

    To help us better understand the change in their lives we need to remember they were forced to leave their homes in 586 B.C.E. and were ushered, or I should say driven, to a new land under a new government in a new nation.

    These versers 1-5 in Isaiah express their rejoicing because they are able to recover their former lives in their own nation, under their own government, and on their own land. Even more importantly they are reconciled to their God and they have become again God’s people.

    Not only do they now have the opportunity to return to their former life, but they are again reconnected to the God of the Universe, the Lord of redemption. I talked about the use of parallelism, that is when the same thought is repeated, but uses different words. This is of course a poetic way of expressing the story, but also the repetition helps emphasize the good things which are happening.

    The hardships they experienced on the way to exile will become a memory as they travel the same path, but in the opposite direction and with a lighter step and a greater sense of expectation.

    If ever you have traveled a long distance it seems sometimes like you will never get there, but on the way back the trip seems so much shorter, that is if you are excited about where you are headed.

    The mountains which had seemed so arduous on the way there are now like a walk in the park. The valley which seemed so treacherous to traverse now seems lifted up and is even as if it is a smooth path.

    As I consider our journey through this pandemic it seems like we will never turn the corner. It seems like the cases are only mounting and the hospitals are more than overflowing. It seems like the gathering together in each other’s homes is less and less like a reality.

    But, we like the Israelites in Babylon, who are distressed and feeing despair, will again skip like lambs along a flowered hillside. Yes, this terrible time will end. This isolated existence will meet its demise. We will again gather and not just on zoom, but truly gather and celebrate seeing the faces of our loved ones again.

    We need to remember that the God who is our creator is also our Lord our redeemer and his redemption is not just for our souls, but for our communities and for this earth. We will again be able to celebrate walking and talking and breathing the fresh air made for our lungs and our lives.

    Let us hear again the first sentence of Isaiah 40:1, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”

    God brings us comfort and God embraces us as his people. Give thanks to God.

    Blessings,

    Pastor Randy

 
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