Read Isaiah 40:1-11.
Nature is beautiful and fragile, impermanent and fleeting. Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” speaks to the brevity of natural glory.* Within the blink of an eye, the season changes and what was once beautiful wilts and fades away. Frost’s poem mourns the loss of youthful vigor and vitality, which chronological time overcomes.
Though Isaiah uses similar imagery to depict the fragility of the world, the prophet’s tone is hopeful. How can this be, when Isaiah writes from exile? How can this be, when the Babylonians have banished the people of Israel from their homeland and imposed a social death upon them? How can Isaiah find comfort within this marginalized existence?
As grass and flowers die with the changing of the season, they return their nutrients to the topsoil. Organic matter decays and produces new life. Though the people of Israel suffered under the rule of the Babylonians, year after year yearning for their return to their homeland, they still felt the comfort of the presence of God. God had gone with them into exile, and was active in the process of liberating them from captivity. The Lord of the Covenant of Sinai and the Lord of the Covenant of David had remained steadfast to the people of Israel. And the prophet Isaiah saw that the time of restoration was at hand.
God of Creation, may we be heralds of the Good News, that the kin-dom of God is drawing near. May we run boldly through our times in the wilderness with hopes of restoration. Amen.
* Robert Frost. “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Poets.org. Academy of American Poets. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://poets.org/poem/nothing-gold-can-stay.