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DATE: April 26, 2020 © Spring Quarter, Uniform Lessons Series

For reflection: Isaiah 61:8-11; 62:2-4

In reading through the book of Isaiah, we discover that it is the city of Zion who is first to consider herself “forsaken” (Isaiah 49:14). It is only later that God uses “forsaken” (Isaiah 60:15), though it is only for a “brief moment” (Isaiah 54:7). Isaiah’s good news in 62:4, is God’s complete reversal of Zion’s identity: 

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her. . . 

As people in the midst of a global pandemic, could there be a more encouraging, hopeful, promise of God’s restorative justice? In every corner of every country the world over there is a community who has felt (is feeling still) “forsaken.” Like Zion, we have self-diagnosed our desolation. We can further relate to Zion’s plight in realizing that God, too, has resorted to calling us “forsaken.” Could it be for us, as it was in Isaiah’s time, that our forsakenness is only for a “brief moment”? Could we dare to hope for a time when our coronavirus infected land shall no longer be termed Desolate? 

Surely, God is calling us to participate in the initiation of that imagined future. Even as we grieve the losses of loved ones and experience trauma in so many facets of daily life, what hoped for changes can we put in place toward rebuilding and recovery? Let’s not settle for a return to “business as usual.” As people of faith, let us covenant together by our prayers and by our actions to enact God’s reversal of our situation. 

What can we do today to chart a course that integrates justice and peace with health and well-being, not just for some, but for all? What can we do today to set a course toward a new day when God will say, “My Delight Is in Her.” 

Let us join together in offering as a prayer this third stanza of Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen! Earth and heaven
nevermore shall be the same.
Break the bread of new creation
where the world is still in pain.
Tell its grim, demonic chorus:
“Christ is risen! Get you gone!”
God the First and Last is with us.
Sing Hosanna everyone!

(Glory to God, #248, Westminster/John Knox: Louisville, KY ©2013)