The garments of salvation

Thursday

Isaiah 61

File:Traditional Wedding Dress of Bahrain.jpg

Traditional Wedding Dress of Bahrain

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God.

Every now and then I have to stop the liturgy and remind the congregation what they are saying. To respond to the declaration that all sins are forgiven with a lackluster “thanks be to God,” is a travesty. No groom stands before his bride and mutters off the vows as if they were old and tired words. If such a groom exists, the bride should flee. Every now and then the guy is nervous – and, since he is repeating words I give him, he will start the vows looking at me. For that brief moment his concern is “getting it right.” He’s reciting a formula. But I always stop and remind him that he is not making the promise to me but to her and he should look at her. Then his whole demeanor changes. Then the words are channeled through his heart and will and emotions. Then they are spoken from the core of his being. “I take you…”

When we stand to speak in worship we stand before that power and presence in whom and from whom all things came into being. We are speaking to the one who is the source of all existence including our own. We are speaking to the heartbeat of the universe and the breath of all life. We are speaking with the power of creation and new creation, the power of truth and redemption, the power of grace and mercy, the power that unleashes every bondage yet binds itself to us.

We are not just looking into the loving eyes of a bride or groom; we are looking into the eyes of eternal love. If we mumble, then it ought only be because we are overwhelmed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God.

My whole being shall exult. My whole being. Every heartbeat, every breath, every blink of the eye, every silently pulsating work of cells to grow and divide, to heal and renew, to stretch and grow, with every fiber of my being I praise this source of life. For the God who is at work in the world is loosing those who are bound, is building what has been torn down, is binding what is broken, healing what is wounded, forgiving what we imagine cannot be forgiven. The God who is at work in the world throws down every empire and raises up the ruined city. This God who is at work in the world, who speaks to us and to whom we speak, comes to wrap us and all creation in the garments of salvation.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

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