Tomorrow I will play the prophet for the second time this Advent, and for something like the twentieth Advent in a row. Since our church follows the Common Lectionary (does that mean there’s an “uncommon” one?), the scripture passages ascribed to each Sunday follow a three year cycle. This is Year B, which is my favorite when it comes to the prophetic scriptures, and I think tomorrow’s passage is the best one of all from Isaiah 40. As I have thought about these verses, several songs from several chapters of my life slipped in as soundtrack behind them, so tonight I offer words and music.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
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.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Cue “Messiah” clip:
A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.