Even though Isaiah lived close on three thousand years ago I like to picture him sitting on an Australian homestead veranda, wearing a battered old Akubra, and waiting for the rain. We are not used to thinking scripturally or theologically in Australian imagery and words, bur Isaiah’s writing bubbles over with words that could have originated in the Top End or the Mallee. “Let the wasteland rejoice and bloom. Let the wilderness and dry lands exult.” (IS.35:1) His God-longing found expression in the landscape. ”Let the clouds rain down the Just one.”(Is.45:8) While Isaiah’s words speak of the Messiah they manage to capture the desire that underlies the waiting for the relief of rain.
Isaiah the political figure was outspoken in his condemnation of the way his encircled little nation had drifted from God. Isaiah the poet looks through to the hidden heart of the landscape, and in familiar and beautiful words captures a people’s deep yearning for God. Over and over again he uses similar words to capture God’s desires for them. ”I will pour water on the thirsty soil, streams in the dry ground.”(Is.44:3)
Like the Chosen People, we wait in hope for God to come into our lives and fulfil our deepest desires, even as God waits for us. Maybe this Advent we could carry Isaiah’s Top End image with us: “Lord, turn the dry and stagnant places of my life into a lake brimming with the freshness of bird life and fish. Amen.”
Let us pray:
Into a justice system that that can be unjust – Come Lord Jesus
Into the lives of people suffering from aids – Come Lord Jesus
Into governments who preach peace through war – Come Lord Jesus
Into broken families – Come Lord Jesus
Into shopping centres – Come Lord Jesus
Into the lives of all who live in poverty – Come Lord Jesus
Into the lives of those who know despair – Come Lord Jesus
Into the lives of those who search for employment – Come Lord Jesus
Into the lives of those held in detention – Come Lord Jesus
Into the lives of the lonely – Come Lord Jesus
Get into the Advent spirit
Parents or those who are young at heart might like to borrow or buy the children’s book Rain Dance which graphically and colourfully captures waiting for the rain. (Cathy Applegate and Dee Huxley – Scholastic ISBN 1-876289-40-6)
Capture the wonder of light in the darkness as you pray with Isaiah: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Is 9:2)
Take a night walk and look at the stars
Enjoy the Christmas lights in your suburb.
Gaze at city lights from a hill top or bridge.
One tradition that is purely Australian began in 1937. On Christmas Eve announcer Norman banks saw a lonely old woman listening to Christmas carols on her radio with a single candle flickering in her widow. A year later he organized a great candlelit gathering on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River for all those who wanted to join in. Carols by Candlelight was born.
Click on this link to pray Wait for the Lord with Taize: