The following is a reflection on Isaiah 55:1-13
This is the end of the “Book of Comfort,” which begins with the words, “Comfort, o comfort my people…” in chapter 40. Within Isaiah, these chapters contain words of promise spoken to a people that had been destroyed and exiled, and who thought God had abandoned them. To hear these words and the assurance that God was still with them, and loved them, was balm to their souls.
When they returned from exile, the people expected to return to things as they were, and they had been promised that life would be even better than it was before. What they encountered was the complete opposite of their expectations. Their return was not a return to prosperity. Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt, social and economic structures were weak, and the returnees fought with those who had stayed for the most desirable land. In these conditions, an invitation to eat and drink without paying would have been both gracious and exceedingly appreciated.
This is a feast where everyone is welcome, particularly the ones who have no money. It isn’t a feast being given for charity, though, but for the purpose of community – for building and strengthening the relationships within it.
The economics of this feast don’t make any sense – at least not from our own cultural perspective – because they are a new vision, God’s vision. It’s more than a “fix” or pause in the chaos of the current situation, it’s a vision of full recovery for the world. As our Creator, this recovery has always been God’s intention, and this abundance is what God’s faithfulness to that intention looks like.
Let us pray: We give you thanks, O God, for your steadfast love and generosity. In the chaos of our lives, help us to recognize the abundance of your grace and share it with others, that we all may participate in the creation of the world you intend for us. Amen.