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Minnesota Episcopal
Environmental
Stewardship
Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

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Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

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Lectionary Reflection

Year C, Epiphany 2
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Readings
Episcopal Standard Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary

Isaiah 62: 1-5

1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.

2 The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.

3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.

5 For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder* marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.


 

Reflection on Isaiah 62: 1-5
by John G. Gibbs, PhD

For once the lectionary for the day lists four texts, all of which have something in common. All 4 are visionary texts, loaded with symbols for fragile souls, freighted with more meaning than meets the eye. Each of the 4 pictures makes its own emphasis: here our vision of God, there God's view of us, here the Church's vision of Jesus glorified, there our vision of "the common good." In every case it's theological imagination at work as if our very lives depend on it.

The emphasis of Isaiah 62 is God's view of the People of God. Here a prophet confronts us who "will not keep silent." Why not? "...for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch."

Forget the legendary long-bearded man who walks in sandals and carries a sign to proclaim: "The end is near." Forget hell's damnation and death's destruction. What this prophet sees is vindication and salvation, that "you shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God." How would synagogues and churches be changed if all their people came to worship with such a God-given vision of themselves?

"But," we say to ourselves, "in reality we are nothing like that." Our self-image denies God's vision of us as having been created in His own image. Our words, "in reality we are nothing like that crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord," show that the alienating judgment came from no mouth but our own. The dehumanizing desolation is of our own making.

What the vision targets is that mis-definition of what it "really" means to be human. The message of the vision is: "You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married."

Forget also the chasm we have dug between sexuality and spirituality. God wants to rejoice over us, and how does God do that? Straight out of Jewish prophetic vision comes shocking corrective to post-Augustinian Church, for the prophet portrays God as our Creator-builder. Isaiah tells how God rejoices over us: "For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you." What if there were burned into our memory that image of God rejoicing over us the way a bridegroom rejoices over his bride? We might imagine it as if our lives depend on it. 

 

Printable version

 

To Reflections on other Readings for Year C, Epiphany 2

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Lectionary
Revised Common
Lectionary
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Isaiah 62: 1-5
(this page)
Isaiah 62: 1-5
(this page)
Psalm
Psalm 36: 5-10
New Testament Lesson
Gospel

John Gibbs, PhD. a retired theologian, attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 1998. John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:


MEESC
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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