I love the strong imagery of Isaiah—the parched land will be glad (35:1). Everything revolves around what was depleted becoming bloom, glory, rejoicing, shouting for joy. being able to see God, to be strengthened even in weakness. To go from being lame to leaping; from being blind to seeing; from being deaf to hearing—to experience life in its fullness is what Isaiah describes.
All the images are wonderful, but the “Way” (35:8) is one which makes it into modern Christianity poorly translated in the cultural and spiritual sense. It’s a way of redemption—the remade self, just as Isaiah describes. He says on this road, “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (35:10). This meant something different to the original audience, but for us, we can only come to a modern understanding with the original humility intended. Which is to say—not that we have picked the right road, or have the best GPS for that journey, but that we are more vulnerable and powerful simultaneously and ironically and only in God’s sight, only with the sense of the wild ride the Creator provides us.
Right now for me this means something special; the words are this balm to me in a time when people I know and care about are at each other’s throats, and it would seem the world—both my little one and the one at large—are falling apart at the seams. Being present in this moment for me—and I hope for you—is to be fully aware of this bloom, glory, rejoicing, shouting for joy. To feel as though there is nothing on this road that would not guide you toward what is right and true and lovely, if only we remake ourselves not in our own image, in the way we’ve grown accustomed: the letter of the law. If only we would attune our hearts and souls away from that letter into the spirit. Then we will be overtaken and feel the joy of being swept up and carried away toward goodness.
in memory of my friend, Nat Seney, who died yesterday morning as the snow fell