My church, New Life Baptist Church (Guildford), is looking at Isaiah 40-55 on Sunday mornings during January to March this year. Alongside this we are encouraging the whole church to work through the book of Isaiah as part of their daily devotions. The collective reading and reflection helps make our small groups function more effectively as we share insights and challenges.
Over this period I have decided to Tweet daily, chapter by chapter, through the book of Isaiah. This is not a naive attempt to distill some new found wisdom from the book! It is simply another way of ensuring engagement with the biblical text – a spiritual discipline if you like. The tweets can function in various ways. They: (i) can attempt to summarise, by way of a propositional statement, (ii) can reflect on a poetic device in the chapter, (iii) can quote a key verse from the chapter, (iv) can make intertextual connections, (v) can appropriate the text in some personal way, such as a sort prayer.
140 characters, or less, cannot hope to do justice to each chapter. It is, rather, the attempt that is valuable. With similar Tweets on the Psalms I have also found it interesting to see how other people tackle this simple idea. To illustrate the idea I have collected the first few below.
My people why are you deaf?
Your choices have broken the Promised Land.
Come, obey your Yahweh and be my Faithful City again.
Jacob, you shall be a gateway for all nations;
a stream in the desert ahead of the flood.
All will make plowshares from swords.
In that day I will take away the grapes in your vineyards as you are so devoted to crushing your own people.
The branch of The Lord redefines glory.
In Him we find shelter and sojourn to glory.
O Yahweh, what have we done to your vineyard?
Your chosen vines have borne an abundance yes, but only of bad grapes.
Open eyes, to the extent of your glory.
Cleanse hearts, that we might speak of your glory.
Loose feet, that we might walk with you.
If you do not stand firm in faith,
you shall not stand at all.
He will be a holy place;
for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble &
a rock that makes them fall.
Unto Galilee, of all places, the Son of God is given – a child born of a carpenter’s household; Son of Mary.
Your people, O Yahweh, in your mercy are numbered like grains of sand.
Your kingdom come.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him.
On this day we say:
“Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.”
Fallen is Babylon.
Hallelujah, I am a foreigner grafted into the descendants of Jacob.
My heart cries out at the brittleness of the nations.
Why do the rulers of the nations see the trampling of ‘the other’ as leadership and justice?
In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
All people of the world;
who live on Earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains, see it;
when the trumpet sounds, hear it.