Christ is among us—
God is doing a new thing!
Another Sunday in Lent, another wonderful passage from Second Isaiah, who wrote when the people were in Babylon, forced into exile for life away from Jerusalem, where their homes were demolished or in ashes.
Their life as a nation was over. The Babylonian armies had conquered. The Babylonian gods had won. It was in this setting that Psalm 137 was written:
How could we sing the Lord’s song
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!
Isaiah’s message cut across this sense of doom.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
What new thing was God about to do? This is how Isaiah puts it:
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Much earlier, God had brought the people out of slavery in Egypt. Then, God had made a dry path through the waters of the Red Sea; now, God would make a river to follow through the dry paths of the wilderness.
God was doing a new thing, and drawing them into a new story. No longer would they only be people delivered from slavery in Egypt—they would also be people delivered from exile in Babylon.
God was doing a new thing; God has been doing new things ever since.
The story of Mary of Bethany is the story of a woman who found that God was indeed doing a new thing. Continue reading