On 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.
And 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.
Then 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.
It 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. Isaiah 25: 6-9
There is a reason that for this time of waiting and preparation, I did not select Isaiah 24–any of it– as an Advent reading. Yet, take a glance. See the contrast. We go from despair, all is hopeless, “The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants…no longer do they drink wine with singing…” to the Lord of hosts making a feast of rich food for all.
Contemplate our world today. I consider the stories Lisa shares from her time this last week in India and the eye opening reality of systemic poverty. Today our headlines read of fast food workers seeking a living wage contrasted by corporate profits of $5,000,000,000. Hunger strikes in effort to move leaders to offering just solutions with immigration. Income disparity unlike any time in our history.
Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, speaks prophetically today as much as his original intent. There is a sentimentality that helps bring comfort with a happy ending of transformation and all around the family table as the credits role. Yet we are surrounded with this story every day. Can we hear the words from Isaiah 24? Or Isaiah 25:4, “For you have been a refuge to the poor”, a refuge, a shelter.
Our word today does not end with Isaiah 24. It is a message of hope in the working out of God’s purpose. A purpose of gathering all at table at a feast unlike any other. A feast of rich food, the finest wine, and the inclusion of all people. But do we have to go through Isaiah 24 to reach Isaiah 25? Are our ears able to hear, and eyes able to see. This speaks as much of God as it does of humanity.
And 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. Then…
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears. Deeply seeded within all of our humanity is a desire for an end to mourning. There is a longing for community, belonging, and providing.
I am thankful for our community of faith. I am humbled this last week to witness Thanksgiving feasts that shared the hospitality of making sure everyone was invited to be part of our greater family. As we continue throughout this Advent season and into a new year, how do we continue to participate in sharing God’s righteousness, or God’s restorative justice. How may we live into our participation into the baptismal promise we share that we will provide for, care for, and nurture our brothers and sisters. For this is the vision that is salvation. That one day the Lord will make a feast for all. May we share together in making a difference in the waiting.