You, o Lord, are father to us,
Our Redeemer from of old is your name.
O Lord, why do you make us err from your ways
And harden our heart, so that we fear you not…
O that you would rend the heavens and come down,
That the mountains might quake at your presence…
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
In our sins we have been a long time,
And shall we be saved…
Ye, O Lord, you are father to us;
We are clay, and you are our potter;
We are all the work of your hand.
Be not exceedingly angry, O Lord,
And remember not iniquity forever.
Gabe Huck writes,
These lines from Isaiah are altogether too much. Any four of them would do. Take the first four. What a question to put to God! We do the wandering, we do the evil-and gets the blame! And then God gets invited to solve it all as the reading goes on to its “Rend the heavens!” lines. Probably everyone has an occasional “Rend the heavens!” day. Some people have “Rend the heavens!” lives. What would that be? Hunger? Fear? Weakness? Depression? Addiction? Discrimination? How many lives shout to God to tear up the skies and put an end to this unhappiness on the time planet Earth! What reason could anyone have to speak this way to God?
Look at a few December leaves, the old ones blowing around the ground. Isaiah did. What did he see?
“Yet,” he says. Yet? Yet what?
A character in one of J.D. Salinger’s short stories says that the most important word in the Bible is “watch.” That person would love Advent and especially the gospel: “Be on the watch! Stay awake! Watch with a sharp eye! Look around you! Be on guard! Why would “watch” be anyone’s favorite notion? How do we watch? What are we watching for? Take the question to Isaiah, take to a saint you have known…
What would help us stay awake and watch?
O Savior, rend the heavens wide;
Come down, come down with mighty stride;
Unlock the gates, the doors break down;
Unbar the way to heaven’s crown.