“I the Lord your God teach you what is good for you.”
Friday, 11 December 2020
After the business of the year, Advent is ideally placed to help us retrieve the values and practices we know to be good for us. It is a time of reassurance.
In today’s reading, Isaiah reassures the weary, despairing people that no matter how far they have strayed from God’s ways, God still waits to welcome them again and again. Isaiah also warns that if we are to be legacy makers as God desires us to be and leave to our children a transformed world, then we must rediscover what it means to live with integrity.
After long days of hardness of heart, the restoration of integrity in our personal relationships, in our public life, in our economic structures, does not come easily. It is a struggle and demands new ways of thinking and behaving. This will be doubly difficult as we live amidst a pandemic which is costing the world dearly both in terms of lives and livelihoods.
A post COVID world will need to be built solidly on foundations of integrity along with compassion, justice, equality and the defence of dignity. What we put in place after the pandemic will be as testing, as challenging as living through the pandemic. Yet Isaiah is clear that in our struggles to align our practices with our inner convictions, we are not alone. God is always in our midst literally ‘en-couraging’ us, ‘putting courage inside of us.’
Running throughout Isaiah’s narratives is the continuous reminder that just as we are welcomed by God and never treated as strangers, so too we are challenged to welcome others, especially the widow and orphan, the stranger in our midst and those who are different to us. We are in the business of building a world where none are strangers, but all are sisters and brothers.