There is so much that I could learn from a serious study of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Perhaps in my retirement…if such a time should ever come! Today’s reflection is simple – yet complex – coming from chapter 40:1-11. Isaiah’s message begins with tenderness. Comfort, give comfort to my people says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…So begins what then sounds like destruction of all we know as life on this planet (All flesh is grass…withering…) in a show of force by a God that claims to come with power and rule by his strong arm. Immediately following on all of that comes, as conclusion, the promise that our God is rather like a shepherd. He feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom and leading the ewes with care.
What then is real power? Can we recognize it in the manifestations of God that stand in juxtaposition to the “power” of this world? Isaiah has much more to say about who God is and why but I would recommend these eleven verses as a worthy meditation for this feast of St. Nicholas.