Isaiah 40: 8 to 1
8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
The word, standing, in the midst of so much withering. I seek that which stands forever. A choir singing: surely it is God who saves me. A photograph, a black woman, holding a white woman, looking on at bedlam. I will be with you, always. Street art, scrawled on the viaduct: Be still and know. The last words covered in angry grey paint.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people is grass.
People is grass? People are grass? Depends on if the people are one or many. Flowers at street shrines. Flowers in hospital rooms, thirsting. Flowers once the flag is folded, the widow escorted, the cooks and ushers asking: what shall we do with all the flowers?
6 A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
“What shall I cry?” I scream. Reading …they are trying to save his arm. He is awaiting bail. They are rising up in the streets. What shall I cry? I choke on the words.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Hoping to see it together, we watch. Looking outward; looking back. Until we attack one another again. Angry responses that don’t match the questions. Accusing questions that hang beside the point. Votes tallied. Guns defending. Ammunition discharged. Orphans created. Guns defending. We post and repost and share videos of children singing, kittens playing in a sunbeam, the least likely among us, rising. In the tiniest goodness, we sigh, glory.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Whispers of unity. Flags waved in solidarity. Muscle adding muscle to the march. Reaching down to grab a hand. One by one fall; over the side of the wall.
3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Where else but in the wilderness. The highway is in the wilderness. The camp is in the wilderness. The church is in the wilderness. The wilderness has come to us. Straightaway.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
Tenderly. Softly. Jesus is calling. And we will trouble war no more.
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
The Lord bless you, keep you, give you.