In Between

13 Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.

14 Yet Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”

15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! 16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

Isaiah 49:13-16a

Greetings my friends!

Simply to give you a little context; the above Scripture is written in a time and a place when the people of Israel were taken into captivity in a far away land. Most scholars believe that this passage was penned to paper after the Israelites have been in captivity for nearly 200 years. The author of this passage is sharing what it will be like when God acts to free the Israelites from the captivity just before this passage begins. Verse 13 is the climax of this section of Scripture and verse 14 shares the thoughts of the people of Israel to the prophet’s words.

Certain passages of Holy Scripture have taken on much greater meaning to my life personally since the beginning of the pandemic. The psalms, which were written for God’s children to provide guidance in daily living during times of both plenty and times of want, have certainly sustained me through this pandemic. Now, in the season of Advent, I have been taking great comfort in the words of Isaiah.

For you see, Isaiah is writing to a people trying to inspire hope and faithfulness that God has spoken “Freedom” to the people of Israel, yet the “Freedom” that has been spoken of has not yet been fully revealed in the world around them. Nonetheless, because God has spoken “freedom” truly “freedom” is certain to come.

The people are living in the “in between time.” The “in between time” of a sure and certain promise of God being made and that time when it will be fully realized!

We all live in this “in between time” as Christians! In the waters of baptism our God has declared that indeed we are children of the living God and will inherit the eternal kingdom alongside our Lord. And while this promise is sure and certain, this divine reality is not realized at this moment in time.

The global pandemic of 2020 has brought this feeling into a microscopic focus. It has been 10 months since the pandemic restrictions started to be enacted. The wearing of facemasks, the washing of hands, the sanitizing everything in sight, the social distancing, and the “no hug” policy have greatly impacted the way we live. For our sisters and brothers living in care communities, the restrictions are even greater. For these sisters and brothers dining has been adjusted, visitation of family and friends has been restricted and many other social contacts which we o