Persistence is not always welcome, and indeed can be exhausting: a parent seeking services for their child with special needs, a woman advocating to not be judged or legislated for her gender, a lover seeking to lift a beloved one from despair.
People have returned from exile in this portion of Isaiah. They were promised an abundant and beautiful image of restoration, and outside intervention and funding may well have lifted their spirits. But the reality they faced was in stark contrast. The experience of return discordant with what was expected.
They struggled to re-establish homesteads and grow food for the season, much less rebuild the Temple that matched what they remembered. What is it we have returned to? Where’s the restoration we were told about?Where are the people in worship? Where are the kids, volunteers, fellowship, discipling, and giving?
The prophet is standing before God and the people, not simply proclaiming what God has promised but calling on God to remember and keep that promise. The revelation of God in the midst of our forsaken-ness and desolation can be a communal act of remembering, proclaiming, and interceding.
God, you aren’t done yet. Be here with us. Amen.
Pastor Daniel Disch
Atonement Lutheran Church, Missoula, Montana