My husband just made a reservation at a favorite restaurant in Disney World for September. It is a reservation that in normal times is impossible to get, especially for a popular time in the evening, but it’s ours now. The thing I love the most about this is that we are starting to think in concrete terms about life AP….After Pandemic.
It is good to do this. Our patient watching-and-waiting is energized when we allow ourselves to think about life getting back to normal. We may still be staying at home in September, but it sure feels good to look ahead and dream.
This morning’s reading is just like that. Isaiah, the renowned Old Testament prophet, was also in a watching-and-waiting place. It was during the time when Israel was divided into a Northern Kingdom (Israel) and a Southern Kingdom (Judah). Isaiah watched as the Northern Kingdom was overrun by the Assyrians, and the Israelites were captured and taken to places far away. Judah is hanging on for now, and in the midst of this, Isaiah writes this beautiful vision of a post-diaspora celebration where all the people of the world will come to feast in Jerusalem:
Isaiah 25 (The Message)
But here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will throw a feast for all the people of the world,
A feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines,
a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts.
And here on this mountain, God will banish
the pall of doom hanging over all peoples,
The shadow of doom darkening all nations.
Yes, he’ll banish death forever.
And God will wipe the tears from every face.
He’ll remove every sign of disgrace
From his people, wherever they are.
Yes! God says so!
9-10 Also at that time, people will say,
“Look at what’s happened! This is our God!
We waited for him and he showed up and saved us!
This God, the one we waited for!
Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation.
God’s hand rests on this mountain!”
Oh, how this resonates today! We long for God to come and remove the shadow of doom, the PALL of doom, from our world today. We long to be able to gather together, to lay down our masks and gloves, and to feast on the finest foods and vintage wines.
The time is coming. God will wipe the tears from every face. He will remove every sign of this pandemic from his people, wherever they are. God’s hand rests on his creation, and he will show up and save us, in his time.
What are your post-pandemic dreams? What is the first thing you want to do when the restrictions are lifted and the danger has passed? What do you miss the most? Dream and plan, friends! It is good for your soul.
But for now, we wait.
And as we wait, remember this: we are one day closer to the end of this thing. Thanks be to God.