Monday, October 22, 2018
Isaiah: Prophet, Poet, Pastor for the Present Moment
Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. Isaiah 5
One of the great insights Isaiah offers us is the prayer/poet practice of weaving hope and harshness of reality together. He continually returns to both the promise and problems that comprise life today.
In the above passage he invites us to hear God singing a love song to the vineyard. Quick timeout ~ when you see the image of a vineyard that is a metaphor the Biblical writers employ for the people of God. We are to be like a vineyard producing the best, plumpest, most delicious grapes ever! Okay... now back to our regularly scheduled blog.
So, God sings to the grapes...sings to us. How do we hear God's love-song to us? Especially amid the tweets and 24 hour news cycle and almost 5000 ads we encounter every day (by the way, in 1970 you encountered only 500 ads every day...so to say there is an increase is like saying water is wet!). Now, some suggest you have to get away...clear away the clutter out in creation. Others will tell you never, ever pick up your cellular device. Others will say it is the church. Others will say it is community service. It seems like most people are convinced they have the musical sheet God will sing off to you. But, I am not sure God is only singing in one way. What if God sings to you as you read this blog. As you sit in silence for a few moment to hear the bird squawking outside. As you go for a walk with a friend. As you attend a PRIDE fest. Just as I love to listen to a variety of music, so I believe God can sing in many, many keys/tempos/styles.
But Isaiah will say that even as we try to listen to God's love-song...there are moments we are still sour grapes or wild grapes. Moments you and I gripe and grumbles...get cynical and critical...think nothing will ever change and this is the absolute hands down worst things have ever been!
When the love-song is drown out by the toxic deluge of name calling. When the love-song is set aside because we want our people to have the power...not those people. When the love-song is silence because we will play again when things are more to our liking. Remember, Isaiah is preaching poetically and prophetically to people who felt deep fear...who felt surrounded by enemies...who didn't know who to trust...who was saying if it wasn't for bad news there would not be any news at all.
Isaiah is preaching poetically to us.
We need to be grounded in God's grace in such a time as this. What will nourish and nurture our lives is staying connected to the source that can fill us with peace...even when the rest of the world thinks we are foolish. How do you stay open to the love-song...while not ignoring the fear...but also not letting that fear pick the radio station? How do you listen to the One whose voice may not always be the loudest in our shouting/cacophony of a culture...but is here and now and still singing?
Take a moment...be still...listen...I pray you hear the sacred song...with more than a trace of grace.