The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.—Isaiah 35:1-2
Isaiah is weaving a vision that indicts the military might of the kings of Tyre, Babylon, Egypt, Edom. In earlier chapters, Isaiah gives a sharp-tongued eulogy on the death of that clear-cutting king Nebuchadnezzar: “The pines themselves and the cedars of Lebanon exult over you. Since you have been laid low, they say, no man comes to fell us” (14:8).
What are these songs that the earth sings? What is the role of singing amongst those who are oppressed? In slavery and servitude the world over singing is a sign of lament and resistance. So if earth is singing for joy then these must be “resistance songs.”
As theologian Ched Myers says, “Empire has always been at war with nature.” “Resource wars” are nothing new. But when empires are brought low, as Isaiah predicts will occur when God’s word is fulfilled, then the very earth will sing its victory song over the oppressor.
Do you live an honorable life with regards to the earth? Will your Christmas gifts celebrate creation?
Breathe in. Breathe out. Ad…..vent.
With gratitude to Pax Christi USA where some of these reflections first appeared in print.