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How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
It is audacious and prophetic to declare peace in hard times. Like the feet of the messenger in this passage, we find that the miracle of the peace given to us is born in the brokenness around and in us. To a city and people in disarray, Isaiah speaks peace and salvation. The gospel we share with the world invites others to live into a hope that never dies and acknowledges a kingdom that will one day be revealed. The prophet proclaims it faithfully and poetically, “All the ends of the earth shall see.”
Isaiah supports us in this season when we celebrate peace in the midst of a violent world. The Lord’s approach encourages us and the sentinels to “sing for joy,” for we see the promise of peace and hope even when mired in our troubles. God comes, comforts, redeems, and liberates.
Over ten years ago, I worked on building what is now the Magdalene home on Lena Street. Amidst dirt, dust, and the pain of giving life to a dream, a red ribbon appeared behind the broken stucco and drew my eyes to it. Inspired and moved to tears by my memories of Christmas and this humble sign of the season—the only sign the house had to offer—I took that ribbon with me in my spirit. The next day, the ribbon was gone, but I realized that it had a permanent home within me, as does every moment in which the kingdom of God breaks through.
If only for a moment, I take comfort. Then, moved to invite others to protest life’s uncertainty with me, I take a deep breath and allow my body to be still. This is by no means a solution to every evil we confront as actively engaged people of faith in a fallen world, but God appearing in plain sight is not something I can ignore.
Love is the rule of the universe, sown in the seeds of creation and awakened time and time again by the presence of this season’s joys. May these oracles reach a critical mass that results in the revelation of God’s salvation to the ends of the earth.
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Scripture Reading from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.