Isaiah 40 In the Shadow of Ferguson, Staten Island, and ISIS


God promises comfort:
comfort in safe hiding places lifted up,
in high retreats brought low,
in life coming at us like a freeway;
a world of terror, racism, homelessness, poverty.
Where is the comfort?
Where is the joy?

We’re looking for comfort,
comfort that says nothing withers, nothing fades,
that we are always safe,
that everything is better with new stuff.
There in the new stuff, the more stuff, ourselves stuffed, too much stuff,
where is the comfort?
Where is the joy?

In presence is comfort:
presence, not empty trinkets nor empty words
but God’s eternal Word,
God’s-Word-With-Us walking us through our pain,
opening us to honesty, empathy, truths to see,
open to comfort,
open to joy.

God tells us to comfort,
tells us to speak the truth to all those we meet,
to stay and walk them through
and face all the crying and construction
and let them know that they never have to face it alone.
There it is: we change the pattern.
There it is: the highway for God.
We are the comfort.
We are the joy.


4 thoughts on “Isaiah 40 In the Shadow of Ferguson, Staten Island, and ISIS

  1. I wold like permission to use the poem “Isaiah 40 in the shadow of Ferguson, Staten Island, and ISIS” in our choir Christmas program at Wheaton CRC in Wheaton Illinois. Mary Sytsma

    1. Mary, please consider this your permission, and please include in your worship leaflet that it is copyright © 2014, Brummhart Publishing, DeFreestville, NY. If you could e-mail or snail mail a copy of the leaflet to me, I would appreciate it. My e-mail is

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