Today’s text is from Isaiah 55:1-13.
In this season of Advent, we’ve been waiting. We’ve been preparing. We’ve been hopefully expecting the awaited arrival of our Lord and Savior. And for many of us here and across the world, we wait with heavy hearts.
We wait for a better tomorrow, a new day, a fresh start. We wait for the day when we’re reunited with our loved ones. We wait for something better. This is what the people of Israel were waiting for too. Something better.
We’ve been reading about their exiled lives in the city of Babylon. Far from home, long removed from their traditions – generations have now passed since their exile began. And now they’re receiving an invitation.
They’re hearing this word from God to come home. They’re hearing about buying drink and food without money. This weary and tired people, long lost in exile, hear this surprising word that food and water will be provided free of charge. That this food and drink, this word from God, will provide new life.
It’s quite the invitation to receive. On face value it sounds beyond incredible. Free food? Free water? Listen and live? Exile is over? It almost sounds too good to be true. In this day and age it certainly sounds like a fool’s dream.
We know that everything costs something. Food had to be labored over, cooked, produced. Water had to be pumped from the depths of the earth. You just can’t get these things for free. But in supermarkets they certainly seem easy to come by. Like the Israelites, it’s easy to become satisfied with things that do need feed us spiritually or emotionally.
But then God comes along and offers us an invitation. It’s an invitation that feels foreign and strange. An invitation that invites us to see the miracles of God all around us. An invitation that invites us to let go. An invitation that encourages us to seek life not in earthly treasurers, but heavenly ones.
It’s an invitation that seems so simple yet is so difficult to live out. To see the ordinary, the mundane, the daily miracles that surround us. To see the rain and the snow – this water that we did not pay for – to see this precipitation water the plants of the earth and provide drink for the animals that roam its surface.
To see that this snow and rain cannot help but water the earth. To see that without thought or hesitation every plant and animal receives its life-giving presence – free of charge. So, too, is it with God’s word.
In this season of Advent you are invited to witness God’s presence throughout all of creation. You’re invited to hear God’s voice on the wind, see God’s face in a stranger, feel God’s presence in the rain and snow that falls from the heavens.
You are invited to experience life through the richness and goodness of God. You are invited to be witness to Emmanuel – God with us. Because every day we wait and prepare for the arrival of Christ – and at the same time have the opportunity to witness this presence around us.
A presence, a gift, a life-sustaining and creating promise from the God of all creation. A gift that can never be taken away, lost, stolen, or destroyed. For no matter what exiles may come our way, we can know that God will deliver us. Sometimes today, tomorrow – other times, like the Israelites, we’re called to wait.
But as we wait we do so with the promise from our Lord and Savior by our side: The promise that when God forgives you, you are forgiven. That you are a child of God. That this day and always salvation is yours.