Friends, there has been thick darkness this week, in our world, our nation, our community
- “Any they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish, And they will be thrust into thick darkness”
There is war, fierce political division, abuse, illness, and death.
- “But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish… The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
We have, as God’s people so often do, as Israel did, turned to that which cannot save us. To other men, to ourselves, to anger, to anything that offers the ever-enticing allure of control and safety.
- “O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance, They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise”
But these are not our God.
- “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needs in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;”
Our God, the God of Isaiah, is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Abounding in love so much so that his wrath, the wrath promised in Isaiah, is poured out in full on his own Son. This is our God…
- “He will swallow up death forever and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth.”
Our God has to power to destroy all that which makes us cry out in fear and in anger… even death itself. And that promise made in Isaiah is so sure, so certain, that it’s repeated again in Revelation.
- “He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The God of the universe, our God, promises that he, with his own hand that we’ve seen held out in judgement, will wipe away tears from each face. Tears of pain, of grief, of deep shame. Tears from that which we’ve done and that which has been done to us.
This is our God, this is Israel’s God, the God who is even now making all things new, who removes our reproach and takes it on himself. Who entered into our anguish, our deep darkness in order that light might shine.
May that light shine in and through us as we gather together as his people.