(Isaiah 25:6-9) Pastor Carol Weist
Isaiah 25:6-9 6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 7And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. 8Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Isaiah 25 is a song of victory. The feast the Lord makes for all peoples on Mount Zion is a feast of victory. There has been a shroud of death cast over all peoples, a dark shadow, not the comforting shelter and refuge under the Lord’s wings (Psalm 61:4). This is a song of victory.
The Lord has swallowed up death forever. Death is a hard pill to swallow, way too big for us to swallow. We don’t have to swallow such a pill because Jesus already has.
Today is All Saints Sunday when we remember those who have gone before us to join the cloud of witnesses. There is still death and dying in our world, but not forever. Not all leaves die in the fall, but many do to be replaced by new leaves in the spring. Just because a tree sheds its leaves, does not mean it dies. The sap still flows through the winter making preparations for the spring. Cells in our bodies are constantly dying and are usually replaced by new ones. There are people who are physically alive but who are dead to compassion.
In Christ the deaths of this world are not forever. So how then shall we live here and now? Here is what Hebrews 12:1-2 says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”
How are we to live in the here and now? We are free in Christ to remember that we are surrounded. We may be surrounded by enemies and problems. That is the type of being surrounded people dislike and fear. It is only human to forget that we are also surrounded by an even greater cloud of witnesses.
We are indeed free in Christ to remember that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who can testify to what God has done: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets and unnamed women and men are told of in Hebrews 11. There are also the many witnesses to the faith we have known or read about. We are surrounded in a good way, not by a shroud of death over all peoples, but by a luminous, shining cloud of witnesses. Continue reading