Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Isaiah 40: 1-11
Reflection: v. 1, ‘Comfort’
For many of us, 2020 has not been the easiest year. Many of us have lost jobs or housing, navigated through the difficult decisions of how to care for our children and family members, stood witness to the reality of the racial injustices in our country, and made endless sacrifices to protect one another and the vulnerable in our community. Our church community has also had its hardships. This year alone we have lost six members—six precious and valuable lives we continue to mourn together. In the past, we would have gathered for memorials in our intimate basement church room, strung with prayer flags displaying the faces of our lost loved ones. We would have sung songs and told stories and held one another close as our tears stained one another’s shoulders, giving honor to the great losses in this family we have made together. Unfortunately, this year we have also lost the ability to gather as before—to hold one another and make home for one another in our cozy crowded space. In the particular and peculiar difficulties of this season, I am thankful for a word of comfort from our God. I am thankful to remember God’s enduring presence alongside us in our suffering. I am thankful to remember that our God will not abandon us. ‘Comfort, O comfort my people,’ God says. I am also thankful that I experience that faithful word of comfort not just in the echoed words of this old prophecy, but in the embodied solidarity of my steadfast community. We may no longer crowd together and hold one another close, but in our present sufferings we continue to stand together and show up for one another each and every day. And that, dear friends, is a great comfort.
Prayer Comfort, O comfort your people, O God, and may we give comfort to one another.