Reflection on Isaiah 62: 1-5
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.