THEY ARE A PEOPLE
with Rev. Rachel
9 THEY ARE A PEOPLE Isaiah 61
I know it’s not my place. And so I push the thoughts aside. I wait to wonder. Why are these verses selected for funerals?
Maybe it’s as simple as word recognition. Folks see “comfort” and “mourn”. With that, the decision is made.
But what an incredibly communal passage this is! There. I said it. Communal, collective, not about one person (even as individuals are precious to us and to God)…“they” and “their” is front and center.
The prophet has a Word that stretches over ‘all’ and ‘many generations’. It does not dismiss our particular hurts and hopes. It gathers them in with those of others, which is exactly how we ought to expect our God to work. If no man incurs devastation on an island (John Donne), his restoration probably isn’t happening there either.
Today, where there is a traditional Advent wreath, in addition to two of the violet (or blue) ones, a rose-colored candle is lit. It is supposed to announce Gaudete Sunday—to direct us in the way of Gaude, meaning rejoice.
I cannot help but think of how difficult it will be for some persons to rejoice on command. At the same time, I know that there is joy to be found in what Isaiah puts before us. God is working out our well being with a clear view of interconnectedness and interdependence.
I can hear this good news it in the voice of a friend: God never told you that you were an isolated project! It’s oaks of righteousness, not oak (v.3). Get on up and out there, Rachel May. Best quit all this pretending that it’s otherwise.
Community, for all the wear and tear it can exact, is what we have; here and elsewhere, perhaps. Showing up to it and for it would seem to be a good first step in experiencing the repair and recompense we long for on a personal level.
Elaine said it this week, and before I saw our text it in the rose-colored light. “I just think it’s a time to step back and help each other see what we’re thankful for…” She didn’t have her holidays confused. She sure didn’t. It’s Gaudete Sunday y’all. Let’s be who we are: A people whom blessing can then find (v.9).