Isaiah 25:1-9 (NRSV)
Chapter 25O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Verse 2For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. Verse 3Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. Verse 4For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, Verse 5the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.
Verse 6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. Verse 7And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Verse 8Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
Verse 9It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
This week’s theme is God loves the world. The reading begins with a short psalm of thanksgiving. When destruction falls upon oppressors, faith’s eyes can sometimes discern the workings of our righteous God. The hymn praises God for overthrowing an enemy city and saving the weak Jewish community. In every age, God befriends the poor and needy, offering refuge in the service of emancipation, liberation, deliverance. Then follows the envisioning of a fabulous feast for all people. Preparing this spectacular end-time meal is the Lord of hosts, or the God who operates with a vast array of possibilities at the divine disposal. This almighty God, or the God of all-that-might-be, is able to subdue all that brings alienation between the world and God, including death. God swallows up death, opening to us a new future. This meal suggests a new level of intimacy and communion taking place between God and humanity.
Awaken us, O God, to the new world that is coming for the fulfillment of all things. Align us with your reign of love and inspire us to throw our agency toward its breaking into the present to transform the world. Amen.