Advent 2020 – ‘Ha’way’
Based upon: Isaiah 43.14-end
By Emma Parker, Deputy Warden – Cranmer Hall – Please Share Widely
There’s a really good northern word that for me, sums up this passage in Isaiah 43, verses 13 onwards.
That word is: Ha’way.
Because in the first half of this passage God is basically saying to his people,
‘Ha’way, dinnit panic; it’s all gonna be ok’.
The people of God are tired and fed up – they have lost their land, their pride, their security, and are living under the rule of the Babylonians.
But God says to them ‘ha’way – don’t you know anything about me? I’m the God who has always saved you.’
He rescued them from slavery in Egypt.
If he’s done it once, he can do it again.
And he even says: ‘Look – you don’t even need to remember all of that
because now I am doing a new thing – I’m going to save you again’.
‘Ha’way’, God says, ‘remember I am your God and it’s what I do – I save and rescue you’.
But then in the second half of this passage
we see that not only have the people grown weary in their faith,
but God has grown weary with his people!
God says in v.22 that they have stopped calling on him –
they have grown weary of praying,
weary of calling on God to be their deliverer.
In other words, God’s people have stopped saying, ‘Ha’way God’.
But they have also become weary in growing in holiness.
And so here is the verdict – God is now weary of their sin – v.24.
And now God is saying to them, ‘ha’way, people, remember who I am, and remember who you are called to be – a holy people, called to bless the world’.
Maybe you’re already starting to see those beautiful golden threads that jump out from the page of Isaiah and weave their way into our experience today.
Here are three golden threads I have seen:
Firstly, I wonder if we need to re-hear God saying to us today,
‘Ha’way, remember that I’m your God and this is what I do – I save and rescue you – I always have, and I always will’.
What would it mean for you to hear that today, whatever you’re doing?
Secondly, I wonder if we have grown weary with God?
Weary with calling out to him in lament or praise.
Letting our weariness with the world, with covid, with debt, with difficult relationships, with always trying and never seeing… letting all of this make us too weary to call out to God for help.
But what would it mean for you to cry out to God today,
‘Ha’way God, do something’.
And thirdly, I wonder if we have grown weary with our calling to be holy.
It’s far easier to point out the injustice around us,
Than to deal with the sin in our own hearts.
What would it mean for us today, when we look at our tasks,
the people we will share our life with,
and hear God cry out,
‘Ha’way, people, remember you are called to be holy,
With a holiness that pursues goodness,
that recklessly loves, that fearlessly offers mercy’?
So today – let us match God’s cry to us of ‘Ha’way people’,
With our own cry of ‘Ha’way God’.
I think he’d quite like that.