Shriveled delight

Sunday, August 26. Isaiah 58:9b-14; Psalm 103:1-8; Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17

As a weekend gardener, I have discovered the deep satisfaction of seeing the fruit of a well-watered garden. Months of tending and watering yield a delightful harvest of well-formed, abundant produce. In contrast, a hot summer with little water yields plants that are shriveled and produce that is unusable. For a casual gardener the difference is distressing; for a hungry family, the difference can be a matter of life and death.

Isaiah says that those who live justly and who delight in God are like well-watered gardens, satisfied and strengthened by God in a parched land. Those who feed the hungry, help the oppressed toward freedom, and comfort the afflicted find themselves sustained by God. In a disconcerting way, Isaiah links doing justice with taking delight in the Sabbath, and being fruitful with finding joy in God.


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