Comfort, O comfort, my people

Dear Friends,

There are so many struggles against illness and disease and physical pain in our midst; there are so many families broken by heartache and misunderstanding and separation; there are so many sisters and brothers living as strangers and refugees among us; and there is death – so often too soon and never really expected, and the grief and sadness and estrangement that follow.

Into the pains and grief and brokenness of his time, the prophet Isaiah speaks: “Comfort, O comfort, my people.”

The prefix com of comfort means with.  And the word fort of comfort is related to the notion of strength.  Like forte, in music: strong and powerful. Like the common word we know, fort – a stronghold, a place of strength, a power of defence.

“Comfort, O comfort my people” — give my people strength!

The passage continues: “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”

God changes the very face of the earth!  The world as we know it will be transformed; the events and experiences that cause us so much pain – they will be changed.

This is the news, the promise, the hope that comforts us…

…this is the news, the promise, the hope that gives us strength.

Here is another vision for us, another hope for us,

…we are invited to look into God’s hope-filled future,

…we are invited to see that even in our present pains and grief and sorrow, we are called into an experience of wholeness and healing….

…an experience in which we open our hearts and minds to the promise of a new heaven and a new earth.

On this side of the kingdom, we may not evade the accident, the disease, the cancer, the surgery or the treatment.  We may not be able to alleviate confusion, bewilderment, pain and grief – and certainly not by our own efforts…and also not according to our own standards.

But God has ways that are not ours, and standards that are not ours, and measures that are not ours.

As we come forward to pray together…

…we are invited to sink deeply into the presence of the God who longs to heal us and our loved ones, whose greatest desire is for the restoration and wholeness of all creation…

…we are invited to embrace the presence and actions of our God whose ways are not our ways, and who may be strengthening us for journeys we would not choose, inviting us into places we do not want to go, and healing us in ways that we do not seek…

…and we are invited to open our hearts, breathe, taste, touch, see the God who makes all things new, and place our prayerful confidence in the one who is the ‘Word made flesh and dwelt among us’, whose promise stands forever.

With love and prayers: Mo. Andi

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