Fifth Tuesday of the Great Fast: Isaiah 40:18-31

Our faith begins with creation. We say, “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things both visible and invisible.” The reading from Isaiah today tells us, “The Lord is God from of old, creator of the ends of the earth.” God indeed is the Creator, not only of our physical bodies and the world in which we live, but of our hearts and minds and souls and of all the values that we hold dear.

The journey of the Great Fast brings us to this understanding: all that we are comes not from ourselves, but from God. All that we have, the very qualities that make us who we are come from God, not from ourselves. To believe otherwise is idolatry, as Isaiah reminds us, “To whom can you liken God? With what likeness can you confront him? An idol?” If we do not put our complete trust in God, who is not some far away Creator, who makes everything and leaves it on its own, but the lover of his creation, by our side in everything we do, we become idol-worshippers. Worshippers of ourselves, or worshippers of our money or possessions or worshippers of some other created human beings, or, I think most often, of ourselves. We do not call celebrities “idols” for nothing. Isaiah gives us a physical image of “the one who is enthroned above the vault of the earth, its inhabitants like grasshoppers,” but this is only an image.

We know in faith that God is everywhere, in our inmost being, in the center of our souls, and is guiding us to life and love, but we are sometimes deaf to his voice. The Great Fast tries to make us become less deaf, to hear God, who as Mary said, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly, (Luke 1:49-52)” and who Isaiah tells us today “brings princes to nought and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.”

Enough of idols, away with idols! In this journey, we must put our complete trust in the Lord, who “gives power to the faint, abundant strength to the weak …. They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras