Friday, December 09, 2005

Advent: Week 2 Day 6

Isaiah's Petition

"Oh, that You would tear the heavens open and come down... to make known Your Name, to work such miracles as no one has ever heard of before."

Isaiah is one of the longest books of the Bible - so long that it has been explained as having been written by two (or three) different Isaiahs. Every time I hear this witless little gem from some dusty doctorate, I think of that show with Bob Newhart: "Hello. I'm Larry and this is my brother Darryl and my my other brother Darryl." But the wonder of this book is the large collection of amazing and wonderful details about Jesus - so many, and so linked to the Gospels that this book is sometimes called the Gospel of the Old Testament.

It is the book of Advent: "a virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he shall be called Emmanuel (the name means God with us)."

It is the book of Christmas: "the people who walked in darkness have see a great light; a child is born for us, a son is given us, on him dominion rests." It opens with the ox and the ass, it talks of those who will come from the East bearing gold and frankincense. "For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising.

It is the book of the Passion: "like a lamb he was led to the slaughter, and he opened not his mouth." It has that horrifying painting of Jesus on Calvary which is read on Good Friday: "Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted."

It is the book of Holy Saturday and Easter: "Go, my people, enter into thy chambers, shut thy doors upon thee, hide thyself a little for a moment, until the indignation pass away. For behold the Lord will come out of his place, to visit the iniquity of the inhabitant of the earth against him: and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall cover her slain no more. ... In that day there shall be singing to the vineyard of pure wine."

It is the book of the Holy Spirit: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord..."

Indeed! sometimes sounds so much like Jesus: "All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price."

If there is one book of the Bible that really should be read during Advent, it is Isaiah. Try it. You will be impressed - you don't need to know how to conjugate semitic verbs or anything - you can see for yourself this treasure-house of expectation and longing...

Yes: Isaiah - just like a kid, waiting for Christmas.


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