The scripture reading today is Isaiah 19:20, NRSV.
“It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; when they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, He will send them a savior, and will defend and deliver them. “
A Blue Highway of Hope
Blue is the color of hope—of clean water and clear skies. Blue is, for some, the color of Advent—a season of waiting and watching for a savior. Blue is the color of pregnant Mary, mother of Jesus. These are upbeat connotations. How interesting that the word ‘blue’ denotes being down, sad, melancholy, even depressed (not unusual during the shortest daylight of the year).
Politics, and often the politics of the Middle East, have so often been a downer—an occasion for violence, and the rivalry of peoples and gods. Egypt vs. Israel vs. the empire of the North. The prophet Isaiah loved the image of hopeful highways, as in chapter 40 that we read last Sunday, and God’s Highway of Holiness in chapter 35. But this remarkable chapter 19 contains one of the most encouraging and inclusive ‘road images’ in the Bible:
On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, AND Assyria the work of my hands, AND Israel my heritage’ (19:23-25). Amazing.
When I ‘get blue’ about the crumbling infrastructure of the world, I take heart that my cries will be heard, and God will provide highway improvements for all, ‘on that day’.
Come, Holy Spirit, and clear the way. In this blue season, help my actions and attitudes to be signs of hope for others; In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pastor Jim firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: Those who work for peace and reconciliation between the nations.