by Sister Dorene King
Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
Though the land be gray and barren, though the night be dark and long, nature, from her bed of slumber, shall the light of God behold.
(Adaptation of “Though the Hills Be Wrapped in Silence” by Becket Senchur, from Benedictine Book of Song II, No. 71)
And John said, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” The evidence speaks for itself — can you not perceive it? Look and listen — Jesus, the good news incarnate — blind receive sight, lame walk, lepers cleansed, deaf hear, dead raised, and poor have good news brought to them.
That’s all great for those at the time of Jesus, but where is he presently healing and giving hope? Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that God’s spirit dwells within you? Each of us carries Jesus’ healing presence and gift of hope. Yes, that healing and hope is expressed in a variety of manifestations. It varies in complexity but however it is expressed, whether a smile, an acknowledgment of another’s existence and a kind word, sharing that healing presence and hope does matter.
It is easy to be drawn into the trap of negativity and fear. We look at the present landscape of our lives and see corruption, disregard for all life, and a lack of compassion for refugees. Our ability to see clearly the needs around us is impaired by the whiteout of sin. We are becoming more gullible to the policy of fear with its twin companion of self-interest.
As we encounter these challenges to seeing clearly, those whiteouts which cloud the Spirit’s presence within us, we are reminded by the writer of the Letter of James to “cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” Jesus cares for each one of us and asks us to extend that care to all life. In living a life of caring, our vision is restored, and the restraints of fear and self-interest loosen their hold on us.
Hope arises and fear diminishes as we trust God’s promises. God commands Isaiah to tell those of a fearful heart “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God — he will come and save you.”
Isaiah’s message is not confined to the people of his time. Trust God’s promises; do not live in fear. Those promises dissolve the sting of death and the silencing of mirth. Let sorrow and sighing flee away. Sing for joy.
The evidence speaks for itself—can you not perceive it? Look and listen — Jesus, the good news incarnate. Abandon fear, for God is here.