How are you?
I’m well. It’s a gorgeous day, it is Valentine’s week, and it is LENT!
What a delicious week!
One of this week’s Word Made Art questions was,
‘What emotions, memories, or observations does this week’s Bible Passage bring up?’
That turned out to be quite interesting!
My passage for this week is Isaiah 58:1-12.
Because of the book, I took time this year to really think about the emotions and observations it spurs.
Not get caught up in them, but just pay true attention to them.
AND to look more specifically for memories.
Delight, sadness and concern, and hope.
And odd mix? Perhaps, but life is odd.
The delight is straight forward enough: I am hopelessly in love with Isaiah 58!
It’s like having the whole Bible, and all of Christian living, in two little pages! Everything that God is, everything he has designed and intended, and everything he wants for us is laid right out in this few splendid verses.
And yeah, I do feel sad and concerned at how different so much of the Church, at least in my country, is from what God has begged us to be.
It’s inevitable, a little sadness, and that is okay.
We only fix what we can recognise as broken.
Mostly, I feel HOPE!
This is such a passionate and intimate book! There’s nothing obscure in this baby!
It is the closest I feel like we ever get to sitting down with God over coffee and hearing his truest, deepest, thoughts. And his thoughts include things like
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness –
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places –
You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew –
Then you’ll be free to enjoy God!
I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all.
His yoke isn’t heavy, and his goals for us make it well worth trying on, don’t you think?
You know, it’s interesting.
I can’t help reading these verses and remembering these last two deeply distressing years in my country. But what I notice is not, mainly, the truly unfortunate choices we’ve made and their repercussions.
The images that mostly come to mind are people of all ages and colours at Standing Rock. And of the veterans flooding into those protest lines to lend their support.
And of Muslims hiding Christians on a bus in Africa, and Christians standing in support of Muslims and Jews here in the US.
Of a friend of mine who, though a single mom, has four young adopted children of her own, and still finds room, and love, to care for foster children – numbers varying depending on the week.
Of the many friends of mine who offered everything from spare rooms to loans, moving help to help shouldering the burdens, during my transition through retrenchment.
and Observations …
Well, I wouldn’t feel the sad parts if I hadn’t been observing my ‘Christian’ culture!
We’ve strayed quite a ways from God’s fairly simple and holistic commands. It’s not good.
I fear that the whole ‘sheep and goats’ thing will be a nasty shock for some of us.
On the other hand, the concern I feel about my own failings, and those of my brothers and sisters in this world, is tempered by all the good I’ve been blessed to observe, and have, myself, received.
And I can’t help observing that Isaiah 58 helps to kick off Lent every year – like a brand new opportunity to see clearly!
I think that the many trials we are going through just now, and the fake Christianity that we seem to have built, will be overcome. Probably through some pain, and that sucks, but in the end – worth it!
That’s what I’ve got.
How about you?
Any insights from your Lenten observances?