December 7, 2010

Of Vengeance and Salvation

Advent 3's Isaiah lesson is a great one. The vision of restoration, the foreshadowing of the one who is to come. Full of rich imagery, the author takes his readers on a pinball like journey through the varying emotions that correspond to the moment of salvation. Fear, anguish, anxiety, release, comfort, joy. They are all there.

Perhaps the best line in this excerpt from Isaiah come in verse four, "Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."

We all, I think, have fearful hearts about meeting the God of our salvation. It either means we are dead, or the end has come, so there's that fear. Then, we wonder if we've been good enough, said the right words, really been forgiven. All the garbage of our lives comes flying back into our conscious mind, and we are afraid.

But the prophet Isaiah calls out to those who fear to say, "Yes, God is coming with vengeance to collect his dues, but he is coming to save, not destroy, so have no fear." What amazing news. That God, even at his most wrathful, even in the midst of vengeance is coming to save and restore.

Have no fear!

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