Reflection—v.2, ‘…make your name known to your adversaries…’
Not only do we want God’s Advent among us to be spectacular, but we also want God to come and to deal with our enemies. The desire for justice is another deep longing of the human heart and joins itself with our longing for God. Feeling far from God and lost in the chaos of all that is wrong, we yearn for everything to be set right, just as it should be, once and for all. But it is surely part of our brokenness, that we turn the authentic desire for justice into something outside ourselves and against others—pointing fingers, at the least, and guns, far too often, at those we judge guilty. We demonize and scapegoat and accuse, all the while defending ourselves. In this way, our longing for God and for justice becomes twisted and bent toward our own benefit and the harm of our neighbor. But Isaiah calls us to look not just at our ‘adversaries,’ but also at ourselves. We must take into account that we participate, willingly and deeply, in the evil from which we would have the world delivered: ‘We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth’ (v.6).
Prayer God of justice, have mercy on us, for all we like sheep have strayed.