A reflection on Isaiah 43:16-21 by Danny N. Schweers, April 1, 2022.
Three People In Need Of Your Prayers
Let me begin by mentioning a young woman, a middle-aged man, and a very old woman. Yesterday I learned that a friend’s grown daughter had fallen while skateboarding, broke her jaw in three places, and is now recovering after a seven-hour operation. Yesterday I learned that my nephew is losing his sight due to a untreatable genetic inheritance. Yesterday I learned that a friend’s mother had fallen, had broken her hip, had lost blood flow to one of her legs, and is facing amputation.
Having read the above paragraph, before starting this paragraph, you may have already added your prayers to mine. Some people are quick to pray and some have trained themselves to pray quickly. If that was you, thank you! You also may have prayed for me already. If so, thank you! I could not write this reflection without first talking about these three.
Reflecting on this Sunday’s readings — Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; and John 12:1-8 — the words that lightened my concerns were Isaiah’s — “The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches…”
What an unlikely pairing! And how odd that God rejoices in being praised by wild animals, much less jackals and ostriches!
My dad worked as a keeper for six years or so at the San Diego Zoo. He talked about once being attacked by an ostrich, of him sheltering under a piece of concrete while the wild thing clawed at him.
And jackals! I have never had warm feelings for those marauding scavengers with their unapologetic grins. Yet Isaiah imagines jackals and ostriches honoring God.
Isaiah imagines us honoring God. Are we like jackals? Are we like ostriches? Isaiah says we are a people whom God formed for himself so that we might declare God’s praise.
Praise God that young women with jaws wired shut have buoyant spirits that rise above discomfort and pain. Praise God that middle-aged men going blind have expectant spirits eager to meet new challenges. Praise God that old women losing their balance and their legs have their sweet, gentle, generous spirits preserved. May we praise God in all circumstances, we the jackals, we the ostriches.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny N. Schweers serves on the Vestry at SsAM and wears other volunteer hats as well, including webmaster for this website. Every week he writes a prayer to go with one of his photos and sends them out to subscribers. Click here to see his Photo Prayer website.