Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
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.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (NRSV)
In the camp and conference ministry world that I was nurtured in, we often sang the song You Shall Go Out with Joy: The Trees of the Field, alongside a semi-tuned guitar and the loud voices of tiny campers clapping along, faster and faster at each verse. For those in the pews, it’s song number 80 in Glory to God!
I love this song, and as I speak aloud verse 12, I have an image of trees and mountains as God and the whole of creation that is clapping together in mutual song and dance. Close your eyes for a minute, and think what it would look like for all of creation to come together and dance in joy. It’s quite a sight!
These words from the prophet Isaiah are about all of God’s creation dancing and singing together; rejoicing in the relationship that we have with God. It is the invitation to a great feast of life given to us by God that is held in relationship by a covenant: an iron-clad promise of love that we only need accept. Sometimes, it’s hard to celebrate in a world where there is so much suffering and injustice, but the prophet reminds us that we can always come to the table and celebrate our relationship with God.
As you go about your day, think of what it would look like if all of God’s creation came together in your neighborhood, city, country, or in our entire world. What would that look like and what role would you play in it?
God of joy and peace, we accept your invitation to the table, to come together as one creation and celebrate with you. Help us to celebrate when it is right and to share the joy of you with others. Help us to find hope in you and your covenant with us, so that we may see the promise of life that you offer to us. Amen.