Isaiah 62:1-5 (NRSV)
Chapter 62For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. Verse 2The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. Verse 3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Verse 4You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. Verse 5For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
A new season Epiphany begins—as does the new year of 2022. Like many, with good reason, we hope a different story will mark this year than the one just past. I am hearing a lot of talk these days about New Year’s Resolutions, what changes might I make to write that different story.
The prophet too imagines a new beginning—it comes like a new dawn or a burning torch in the night to break the silence of waiting or fear. With good reason, for this prospect is not about renewed resolutions of what we might do. Rather, everything in this story is about the surprising wonder that God has in store for us. With excitement and joy the prophet invites us to join in the shouting—vindication, salvation, a crown of beauty, a new name to mark a new beginning, rejoicing like at a marriage! And why? All because God delights in you. Can you believe it? Let that good news mark this Epiphany and the New Year ahead.
God of wondrous delights, we can hardly believe the good news that your delight is actually in us, and in making promises that will mark our days to come. Let that delight shine like the dawn to mark this day, and all our days ahead. Amen.