Think Isaiah is ancient history? Think again! No matter what pages of our human story we read, God has always been present in the most uncertain of times. Here we are now, facing new questions. Are we ready to listen to a good word from an old friend, the prophet Isaiah?
Isaiah 43:16-21 This is what the Lord says — he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
While I lament our inability to meet together, shake hands, exchange hugs, and share smiles, I am confident that one thing remains the same: God will not abandon us, even as we re-invent what ‘church’ looks like for a time.
The truth is, church has always been the people — not the place — who gather in the name of Jesus Christ. The announcements that follow are us attempting a New Thing together, trusting that God is still at work making a way in the wilderness (an especially poignant metaphor this Lent).
Who knows, but the skills we gain, the conversations we have, and the flexibility we practice might just grow all of us in surprising ways.