Monday, April 2, 2012

The Church Year and the Lectionary Commentary – Easter (Day1)

Isaiah 25:6-9

6 On this mountain,
the LORD of heavenly forces
will prepare for all peoples
a rich feast, a feast of choice wines,
of select foods rich in flavor,
of choice wines well refined.
7 He will swallow up on this mountain
the veil that is veiling all peoples,
the shroud enshrouding all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever.
The LORD God will wipe tears
from every face;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from off the whole earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
9 They will say on that day,
“Look! This is our God,
for whom we have waited—
and he has saved us!
This is the LORD,
for whom we have waited;
let’s be glad
and rejoice in his salvation!”


We live, even – or especially – as God’s people, with suffering, loss, disease, injustice, perplexity, and doubts galore. God promises us no immunity from the normal regimen of suffering that befalls all humanity. But in addition to that come the varied sufferings that accompany bearing the cross of Christ in a still-not-yet-fully-redeemed world.

Faith means clinging to hope in spite of the evidence to the contrary, against all apparent odds. We continue to believe in and call God good when that goodness is enshrouded in confusion and contradiction. It’s like the scene in a million movies where the hero or heroine are caught in a situation where their guilt in some event appears incontrovertible. They are leaning over a body with the smoking gun in their hand and a letter in the victim’s pocket which gives them perfect motive for murder. God is often caught in such a situation in our world. Those who believe in the hero or heroine, though often shaken and beset by doubt, hold on to the hope that in the end all will be made clear and God proved in the right.

Yes, Isaiah has it right. God’s people live with obscurity and perplexity (veiling, v.7), suffering (tears, v.8), disgrace (v.8), and even death (v.8). Hope is faith’s only antidote to despair. And Isaiah paints that hope in colors vivid and arresting enough to run the train of despair off the tracks. The beauty, richness – we can almost smell the flavor of the variety of foods – glory, and certain reality of the feast God prepares for us is what helps keep us keeping on!

Hope’s waiting is matched and exceeded by reality’s advent. Far, far exceeds it, in fact. So far, that our only response will be joyous acclamation and unending praise.
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, Easter day, is that reality!

Life has trumped death, despair, defeat, and even the Dark Lord himself!

Jesus is alive!

The day of triumph and celebration is here!

Victory over all the terrors, tragedies, and trials of life in this world as God’s people has come!

We eat and drink together at the Lord’s Table in joyous anticipation of that great feast with God on the mountain that Isaiah foretold!

And we “will say on that day,
“Look! This is our God,
for whom we have waited—
and he has saved us!
This is the LORD,
for whom we have waited;
let’s be glad
and rejoice in his salvation!”

Thanks be to God!

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