Dec 31, 2017 - Rev. Victoria Robb Powers
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The prophet Isaiah stands in the gap between God and Judah, proclaiming a new age of freedom and restoration, despite Jerusalem being deserted in a time of exile. It must have seemed that God was indifferent to the desolation of God’s people, blind to their plight and deaf to their prayers for deliverance. Elie Wiesel wrote that the opposites of love, art, and life are not hated, ugliness, and death; but indifference. God’s seeming absence and indifference felt more terrible than if God had been hateful, and the people’s spirit and resolve were crushed.
The dreams of Israel were dead and gone, but the prophet Isaiah stepped in to resurrect that dream. He gave a new and hopeful vision for people who were defeated, disappointed, and downhearted. Isaiah proclaimed extravagant promises of God’s faithfulness to a desperate people that seem naïvely optimistic.
Even today, we are still waiting for Christ’s return, and his Advent two thousand years ago did not solve all of the problems in our world – perhaps we are naïve to continue reading these promises today. Nevertheless, Isaiah’s prophecy and Jesus’ birth inaugurated an age of liberation that we can all participate in – they invite us all to live into a future that is redeemed by God. We are a people that live trusting in God, and hoping for a future that God is still working toward. We believe that goodness, redemption, and liberation have already begun in Jesus, and we live as a people of hope who believe that God’s will continues to become reality.
We don’t only hold this hope in our hearts, but we embody hope in our lives – we are called to proclaim salvation for all people like the prophets. Our lives are to be a manifestation of Christ and his transforming power that brings God’s kingdom on earth.