Tuesday of Epiphany 2 – Isaiah 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
    and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
    and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,  
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
    so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so shall your God rejoice over you.

I heard this story many years ago. A little girl in Mexico announced in her village that she had spoken with Jesus. She said he was not happy about some things and encouraged other things. These conversations happened more than once, she said. People started to take her seriously and she became something of a local celebrity. This drew the attention of the Bishop who brought this little peasant girl in for an interview in his office. A gentle man, he had cookies and something sweet to drink and they shared a pleasant hour together. She seemed sincere, her story did not seem to be influenced by her parents or others. But this is not something that is easy to discern. As she was leaving, he told her that the next time Jesus spoke to her, she should come back and tell him right away. He was grasping for some way to test what she claimed. He added “If you think of it, ask Jesus what is the last sin which I committed.” It was something surely only the bishop and the Lord would know.

Several weeks later the Bishop’s secretary told him that the little girl was back to see him. She told him that Jesus had spoken with her again. “Did you remember to ask him the question I gave you? What did he say was the last sin I committed?”

“Yes,” said the little girl. “He says to tell you that he forgot.” Isaiah speaks to the people of ancient Israel who had broken the covenant with God over and over. But he speaks of God delighting in them. They are a crown of beauty in His hand and His delight is like a bridegroom delighting in his bride. That can be hard to see when our sins are ever before us and when they consequences weigh us down. So, we need Isaiah and the rest of the prophets, Gospels, and the whole Bible, the weekly absolution, the sacrament, and so much more to remind us. God has put our sins away, restored us to the purity of Eden, and declared our righteousness to the world. He really does delight in you!

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