Isaiah 64:1-9 (NRSV)
Chapter 64O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence- Verse 2as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil- to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! Verse 3When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. Verse 4From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. Verse 5You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed.
Verse 6We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Verse 7There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. Verse 8Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Verse 9Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.
Life was not proceeding according to hopes and plans for God’s people in the time of Isaiah—and so it seems for us now. The parties we planned to throw for graduation, confirmation, retirement, and other life milestones have been cancelled or down sized. When COVID first arrived, we wondered if we should make plans to celebrate Holy Week and Easter remotely—and now months later we are making plans for remote Advent and Christmas worship.
For those not allowed to sit at the bedside of a gravely ill loved one, attend college in person, or hold a new grandchild it can feel like God has turned away from us. We wonder why there is no vaccine for COVID yet and whether God is listening to our prayers. We, like God’s people in Isaiah’s time, need to remember God does not turn away from us. It is we who often turn away from God and need to be reminded that we are God’s well loved people.
God of celebrations and challenging times, guide us and help us to remember to place our trust in your endless care and love for us. Amen.