Scripture Reading Isaiah 35:1-10 (Inclusive Bible)

Let the desert and the wilderness exult! Let the Arabah rejoice and bloom like the crocus! Let it blossom profusely, let it rejoice and sing for joy! The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of YHWH, the splendor of our God. Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees. Say to all those of faint heart: “Take courage! Do not be afraid! Look, YHWH is coming, vindication is coming, the recompense of God – God is coming to save you!” Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unsealed. Then those who cannot walk will leap like deer and the tongues of those who cannot speak will sing for joy. Waters will break forth in the wilderness, and there will be streams in the desert. The scorched earth will become a lake; the parched land, springs of water. The lairs where jackals used to dwell will become thickets of reed and papyrus. And through it will run a highway, a road called the Sacred Path. The unclean may not travel by it, but it will be for God’s people alone; and no traveler – not even fools – will go astray. No lions will be there, nor will any fierce beast roam about it, but the redeemed will walk there – for those whom YHWH has ransomed will return. They will enter Zion shouting for joy, with everlasting joy on their faces; joy and gladness will go with them, and sorrow and lament will flee away.

*“YHWH” represents the divine name found in the Hebrew text. It represents the divine mystery, and is not pronounced. Instead, we say “God” or some other term of reverence.

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St Andrews Sermon 2014-04-06 — The Desert Will Blossom