In elevated, beautiful language God promises to create new heavens and a new earth. The problems and pain, the injustice and hunger, the longing and the loneliness—all will be vanquished! This image of predators and prey happily coexisting will appear again in the Isaiah text for Advent 2, and in Advent 3’s Isaiah passage there will be “no lion . . . nor ravenous beast” in God’s renewed Zion.
When I was a new pastor I imagined that I was breaking new ground, doing things differently than older colleagues. Funerals, for example—folks liked it when funerals were called “celebrations of life” and involved lots of personal stories about the deceased. “Your service was so personal,” a friend of the widow might gush.
They are overhead even now, making a racket as they chant Texas, Texas, Texas. The high cold air brushes the tips of their wings. It’s not a journey to make alone, so they stay in formation, each taking a turn as leader, honking encouragement to the leader, or drafting on the uplift created by the bird ahead.
When I was a small girl I went to an excellent Sunday school where we were introduced to lots of Bible stories with very few be-good-or-else threats attached. I learned a great many interesting things, including knowing by heart the seven plagues that were inflicted on Pharaoh and his people. This is where I first encountered locusts.