Sunday, July 7, 2019 – Pentecost 4

July 7, 2019  

Pentecost 4 2019

Our Savior’s La Crosse

Isaiah 66:10-14

 

God judged them for their sins.

God punished them for their errors.

God destroyed their homes. God destroyed their cities. God destroyed their livelihoods and sent them into exile because of what they did.

The destruction was a calamity. It included the destruction of Jerusalem, the city of God. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

The destruction was believed to be divine retribution for God’s rebellious children.

And so the children of God languished in exile, where they suffered. They lamented.

The earliest historical record of the existence of the city of Jerusalem is from the 19th century BC, when the city was known as Urushalim (“Jerusalem” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, volume 2, p. 843).

Jerusalem was and is a city sacred to Hebrews and Christians, and for people of the Islamic faith.

Jerusalem.

The author of the last chapter of the book of Isaiah imagined Jerusalem, rebuilt after the exile of her citizens, as a nursing mother consoling the exiles upon their return. The author wrote “Drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom” (Isaiah 66:11).

The image was an image of hope.

The prophets spoke of renewal. The prophets spoke of a new covenant between God and God’s people.

The prophets believed the children of God would return to the cities that had been their home. The prophets believed that the lives of the exiles would be rebuilt, as would their cities.

Jerusalem, the center of the Hebrew world, would be restored.

Jerusalem.

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her” (Isaiah 66:10).

God gave God’s children hope.

And here is where we find our hope:

In verse 13 of our reading from Isaiah (and in the verses following it).

God said to God’s children “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice”

God is telling them they will have a home. God is speaking to them as a mother speaks to her child.

Just so—God speaks to us.

“I will comfort you” God tells us when we are hurt, or are sad, or when we grieve, or when we find ourselves living in circumstances that can feel as if everything that matters is lost to us.

“I will comfort you…your heart shall rejoice.”

 The good news is, God is with us. God loves us. God no longer deals with God’s children with anger, with judgment, with punishment, with destruction. We are children of God’s new covenant. We are children whose sins have been washed away. Our mothering God loves us.

Imagine we are God’s children and God is bouncing us on God’s knees.

Now, stop imagining. Because, we ARE God’s children! God does feed us. God calls us to drink deeply. God promises us we shall flourish like the grass.

We are God’s children.

We are dearly loved.

Always and forever.

Amen.