Shrouds Enshrouding

Our lectionary today takes us to Isaiah, where we will read some of the most powerful words of hope that have ever been written. It comes at a time when it is easy for us to feel hopeless. We are facing surges in new variants of the coronavirus, devastating storms that have wiped out entire towns, hate crimes filling the news, and unrest that seems to never end.

We need some good news today.

I think that the current state of things is represented in this passage as a veil or shroud over God’s people. We aren’t meant to live this way. We aren’t supposed to feel the crushing weight of fear, anger, disunity, and despair. God created an Eden for us, but in our sinfulness we preferred the temptations of the evil one…and prefer them to this day.

But there will come a time, says Isaiah, when God will swallow up the veil that is veiling all peoples and the shroud that is enshrouding all nations. Our darkness will be lifted and we will be able to see clearly again and experience what God intended all along.

It starts with a rich feast.

Isaiah 25 (Common English Bible)

On this mountain,
    the Lord of heavenly forces will prepare for all peoples
        a rich feast, a feast of choice wines,
        of select foods rich in flavor,
        of choice wines well refined.
He will swallow up on this mountain the veil that is veiling all peoples,
    the shroud enshrouding all nations.

Imagine a heavenly force that will enable us to sit at the table with our enemies and feast on rich foods and choice wines! Then our swords will be turned to plowshares and wars will cease. Harmony will be the rule and sorrowing will end forever.

He will swallow up death forever.
The Lord God will wipe tears from every face;
    he will remove his people’s disgrace from off the whole earth,
        for the Lord has spoken.

God’s word assures us that this day will come. Isaiah foretold it and Jesus unfolded it. God has saved us!

They will say on that day,
“Look! This is our God,
    for whom we have waited—
    and he has saved us!
This is the Lord, for whom we have waited;
    let’s be glad and rejoice in his salvation!”

So no matter what worries you are carrying in your back pocket today, no matter how heavy your sorrow bucket is, or how deep your anxiety runs, remember this: this is the Lord, for whom we have waited. He has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Death is swallowed up forever and God wipes the tears from our eyes.

The veil is lifted.

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