Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

The Words of Isaiah

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

After the seas are all cross’d.
(as they seem already cross’d)
After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work.
After the noble inventors,
after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, the ethnologist,
Finally comes the poet worthy of that name, The true son of God shall come singing his songs.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Some people claim that Isaiah was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. His career spanned the turbulent period from King Uziah’s death, about 740 B.C. to the end of Sennaacheribs siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. Judah’s kings, especially timid and shaky Ahaz, persistently wanted to rely on political deals with foreign powers, usually Assyria or Egypt, to save the country. But Isaiah would not hear of it–”Tremble, you women who are at ease… (32:11a).”

Isaiah’s ministry began with the famous “call” in ch. 6 to which you are no doubt familiar. The theologian/writer Fred Buechner, taking substantial liberty with Scripture, paraphrases Isaiah’s call (in ch. 6) this way:

There were banks of candles flickering in the distance and clouds of incense thickening the air with holiness and stinging his eyes, and high above him , , as if it had alwa ys been there but was only now seen for what it was (like a face in the leaves of a tree or a bear among the stars), there was the Mystery Itself whose gown was the incense and the candles a dusting of gold at the hem. There were winged creatures shouting back and forth . . . and Isaiah responding, “O God, I am done for! I am foul of mouth and the member of a foul-mouthed race. . . I am a goner . . .” And God said, “Go give the deaf Hell till you’re blue in the face and go show the blind Heaven till you drop in your tracks because they’d sooner eat ground glass than swallow the bitter pill that puts roses in the cheeks and a gleam in the eye. Go do it.” (–from Peculiar Treasures).

“That is what a prophet does,” Buechner ends. “And Isaiah went and did it.”

Listen with me to the words of Isaiah. They ring true for his generation and for ours. Enjoy Isaiah this Advent Season. Have a Blessed, wonderful Christmas season. Come, let us glorify the Lord and praise his name forever!

Thoughts on Advent

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Is Jesus Christ in our hearts as well as in our minds? Is He more than an inellectual exercise–is He our Lord?

Advent, then, to Wingfold, and to you and me, can be a reality check. What is real? What really matters? Look around . . . listen to the Advent/Christmas music. Watch the Christmas pageant. Make an Advent candle. Listen to sermons . . . watch the children’s faces during the children’s sermon. Yes, He is alive! Advent and Christmas move us beyond our intellect, beyond our mundane worlds and take us again to the manger and we again know that the Christian life is worth it, is real, it what we want to do. Join me again this year in the stable, at the manger, . . . and let us magnify the Lord together.