Monday May 3 2021

Scripture: Isaiah 55-57

Key verse: (12) “For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

Reflection: What a glorious spring it’s been in Charlotte!  Last spring, Jennifer and I planted six peonies.  We’ve never planted peonies, but have always loved the flowers.  Through the summer, they grew fairly rapidly. Come fall, they began to whither, and by November it looked like our efforts had failed.  But as spring began, suddenly shoots of green began leaping forth, and within a matter of weeks, some of them had buds.  This week, the first of those buds have become glorious flowers. Of course, we’re rookies, and so are our peonies, but they embody the energy and beauty of the season. 

Isaiah 55 concludes what scholars call “Deutero-Isaiah.”  It was written at the end of Israel’s long exile in Babylon. For the Israelites, emergence from that long exile felt like the new life of spring shooting forth.  All creation joined in celebrating the new life Israel found on the other side of exile. The mountains burst into song, the trees clapped their hands, and I would imagine the peonies glowed in all their glory. 

As the percentage of people vaccinated continues to increase and new life emerges from this pandemic, these verses have never been more poignant for me.  As we near graduation season, the end of the most bizarre school year most have ever known, the beginning of summer vacations and the return to the new normal we are all striving toward, may the joy of Isaiah 55 fill our hearts that we might join creation in the celebration of new life! 

Prayer: Thank you for the peonies, O God, for their beauty and boldness, for the way they praise the wonder of your creation.  May we learn from them and join the clapping trees and the singing hills to give you praise and thanksgiving for the new life that is ours in Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Author: Joe Clifford

[Scripture quotations are 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].

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