Bishop’s Reflection – Service of Peace & Reconciliation


Isaiah of Jerusalem,was God’s spokesman in the Royal Court, during the time of:
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, Kings of Judah in the 8th Century BC.
His writing is profound and poetic. A single strand binds his book together:
The King who reigns in Zion. It is a complex theme,full of tensions. Sometimes the King is God himself. At times, he is the current King of the House of David.
Othertimes, he is the King who is yet to come.Nonetheless, the King reigns and rules in human history.For Isaiah, it is not the past but the future that dominates the present.

Isaiah spoke truth to power: to the temporal and spiritual rulers of Judah and to the regional powers of his day: Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. They all were accountable to God, as we are today.He knows the secrets of our hearts and we all will give account to him for our attitudes and actions, rulers and peoples alike
Isaiah’s message was unpalatable: Judah would be sent away in the judgement of God. They had failed to live out their vocation, their reason for being, to reflect and demonstrate the justice and righteousness of God in the world. So Isaiah predicted the trauma of exile, when everything would be lost.

But God’s justice gives way to mercy and trauma to transformation, in the poetic lines of Isaiah 32, which we have just heard read. The Spirit of God would transform:
The Creation; the desert becomes a fruitful field.
The Country: justice and righteousness would be earthed in the nation.
The Community; peace would emerge from the soil of life, people would live
in trust and security.

The history of Ireland and the UK in the past 100 years has been marked by trauma and trouble. Today we acknowledge the transformation in our relations. This transformation, I believe, is a work of God, the Spirit, who brings:
Healing out of hurts,
Reconcilation out of wreckage,
Trust out of turmoil.

This is a Milestone moment. When we remember and revisit the horror of the recent past. When we savour the comfort of the present. When we hope for a better future together, as we wait upon the Lord. They, Isaiah wrote, ‘ who wait for the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’. Amen