Sunday, December 11, 2011

"The Ransomed Shall Return"

The third Sunday of Advent is about Joy. Isaiah writes about this joy in his 35th chapter:
The Ransomed Shall Return
 1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2it shall blossom abundantly
   and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
   the majesty of our God.
 3 Strengthen the weak hands,
   and make firm the feeble knees.
4Say to those who have an anxious heart,
   "Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
   will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
   He will come and save you."
 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
   and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
   and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
   and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
   and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
   the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
 8 And a highway shall be there,
   and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
   It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
   even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
9No lion shall be there,
   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
   but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
   and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
   they shall obtain gladness and joy,
   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

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