The Canadian literary critic Northrup Frye pointed out a recurring “shape” in the biblical narrative, a U-shape. As a whole, and in all its parts, the Bible moves from the downward plunge into disaster to the upward surge of rescue or renewal. Slavery in Egypt is followed by freedom in the promised land; exile in Babylon is followed by repatriation and a new beginning.
In a world that often seems to spiral downward, there is probably no more important function of religion than this: to give hope, that upward surge. Today’s reading is one of Isaiah’s expression of that hope, in spite of humans messing things up. “I will heal them,” says the Lord.
We all have our downward times-health or family problems, conflict with neighbours, grief and worry about world events or natural disasters. The Bible is clear, as a whole and in all its parts: in the end, God wins; life wins; we win.
Lord of the future, I place my hope in your hands. Amen. — GHN