Isaiah 60:1-5, 18-20
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise.
The sun shall no longer be
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun shall no more go down,
or your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of mourning shall be ended. (NRSV)
Today was the State Funeral of former President George H. W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington D. C. This passage from Isaiah was read by his granddaughters as well as Revelation 21:1-4, 23-25. After the service, one of the commentators said that the former president had a large part of his service already planned. He also said that the former president had updated it from time to time, but most of the details remained as he originally planned. I was intrigued in his choice of scriptures. I love Isaiah. It is a book of prophecy with a LOT of beautiful imagery, and this passage is one of its more beautiful portions. The promise of a peaceful gathering of the nations under the light of God’s love that doesn’t ever dim must have been an ideal for a statesman who rose to the highest office in the land and was looked to as a leader among world leaders. This man, who had served in battle and who ordered others into battle, chose to lift up scriptures of peace and prosperity for all. I was touched by that. As a person who was in the military, I long for the day when there will be no more war.
On this day of national mourning, I pray for the day when this passage will be true for all of us. I don’t have any illusion that this is humanly accomplished. It will all be God’s doing.
May your kingdom come, your will be done, O Lord. And in the mean time, make us agents of your peace. Amen.
Blessings to you,
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.