Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Isaiah 63:7-9

Christmas 1 - Year A

I’m intrigued with the language of:

according to G*D’s mercy
according to the abundance of G*D’s steadfast love.

At first blush we see the salvation of our distress when a certain level of abundance shows up. Mercy is not put off because of anything in particular on our part because G*D seems to prefer to see us as “not dealing falsely” with G*D’s mercy - we’ll appreciate it and respond to it. Mercy is delayed as a result of a lack of abundance of a desired steadfast-love. When steadfast-love is again abundant, merciful action based upon it will again be engaged.

If we were to extend the passage through the next chapter, we would see that these three little verses are only prelude to a much longer lamentation. From this optimistic beginning, the passage devolves into a complaint about G*D’s alternator not charging G*D’s level of steadfast love. Being a refugee is no easy matter, even if it is a time of learning and a provider of opportunity to show steadfast-love toward G*D before G*D can show it. We have experienced G*D coming through in the past and we want to remind G*D that intervention in unfairness can be done again.

Given that this passage, standing on its own, devoid of context, is such a happy one, how do you see it playing in Ramah, then or now?

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