Orthodox Mission – Hyde Park, Chicago

5th Tuesday of Lent, Isaiah 40,18-31, Meditation

TThus says the Lord: “To what have you likened the Lord, and to what likeness have you likened him? Has the craftsman not made an image, or the goldsmith melted gold, gilded it over and made it a likeness? For the craftsman chooses wood that will not rot and wisely seeks how he will set up his image so that it may not be shaken. Will you not know? Will you not hear? Was it not declared to you from the beginning? Have you not known the foundations of the earth? The one who hold fast the circle of the earth and those who dwell on it are like locusts. The one who set up the heaven like a chamber and stretched it out like a tent to dwell in. The one who appoints rulers to rule as nothing, who made the earth as nothing. For they shall not plant, nor shall they sow, nor shall their root take root into the earth. He blew on them and they withered, and a squall will take them like sticks. Now therefore to what have you likened me so that I shall be exalted?” said the Holy One. Lift up your eyes to the height and see, who has displayed all these things? He who brings forth his array by number will call them all by name. From his great glory and by the might of his strength nothing has escaped you. For do not say, Jacob, and why have you spoken, Israel: My way has been concealed from God, and my God has taken away judgement and has departed? And now, have you not known if you have not heard? The eternal God, the God who formed the extremities of the earth, will not hunger nor toil, nor is there any searching of his understanding. He gives strength to the hungry and grief to those who are not suffering. For the young will hunger and youths will toil and the chosen will be without strength. But those who wait on God will renew their strength.

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God cannot be reduced to the things he has made; nor can things he made reduce him to a thing made. He is not exalted by our art. He himself is the artist who has made all things for his dwelling, his tent, his temple. We are small, he is great. He is immortal and we are short-lived and weak. He is not exalted by comparison to anything he has made. He is exalted as the Maker beyond all the things of this world who has made all out of his ineffable care and love. He is not made strong by comparison to the world: he imparts power to those who do not turn impatiently to this world and this life to give them strength, but rather, those who patiently wait on him, who gives and then renews strength. We must wait in patience for God to show himself from beyond the bounds of this world, we look up to him for his glory that surpasses our judgment, our skill, our strength and our knowledge.