“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” vs. 10
The prophet is overwhelmed with joy and hope at the prospect of returning to Jerusalem following years of exile in Babylon. The people had been away for decades and at times it must have seemed as though they would never come back to their holy mountain. As it was, the vision didn’t quite match the reality. When they got home their temple was gone and the city lay in ruins–whatever joy they felt was temporary. It wasn’t long before the returning exiles were at odds with those who had been left behind. But the hopeful words of the prophet were so beautiful that people clung to them even in the face of the dismal conditions. They’ve never been forgotten and now are used by followers of Jesus to describe the peaceable kingdom that awaits. We too are among the ransomed, saved from a life of captivity to sin, and freed for new life in Christ. That’s why our worship services during the coming Christmas season will be filled with songs of great joy and gladness. And even our actual situations aren’t what we’ve hoped, the promise remains. A new world is coming, and we won’t study war any more. It’s a vision worth hanging on to–’cause one day it will be our new reality–and some of us can’t wait!
Thought for the Day: Why do some people prefer dystopian views of the future?