Text: Isaiah 60:1-22, Isaiah 61:1-11, Matthew 25:31-46
My grandmother’s Sunday best was almost always paired with a favorite accessory—her geese pin. Given to her by my grandfather decades prior, it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I learned the meaning behind it: geese are birds that mate for life. The pin represented his vow to her, a promise he kept.
The cherished pin, brass with two geese flying in the same direction, is one I saw my grandmother wear many times as she sat in the front row of the church pews, watching my grandfather as he sang solos in the church choir. It’s what she wore during their 50th wedding anniversary party, smiling as they snapped a picture together under the backyard tree that had witnessed their marriage blossom. It could be found pinned to her black dress on the day of my grandfather’s funeral, and on her shirt most of the days that followed.
Although my grandmother was usually in the kitchen making a coconut cake while my grandfather was picking bell peppers from his garden, they were always in hollering distance from one another. They came as a packaged deal. On the rare occasion you’d see them apart, maybe in the grocery store or on a fishing boat, their contribution to any conversation was always spent bragging on and missing the other. After my grandfather was gone, I think the geese pin helped my grandmother follow the routine they’d established together. It was a prized piece of jewellry, displaying the treasure of their union.
Isaiah also proudly displays a prized possession: the picture he’s been given of final glory. He rarely describes people and God as separated because his sight is set on the vision of being united. On the rare occasion he does see them apart, in our earthly aching and hoping, he doesn’t stop seeing us in the light of God’s radiance. We have been given a similar promise to that of the geese: eternal life together with Him. It is God’s covenant to us, one He will keep—the unity that was and is and will be again, forever.
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord shines over you.
For look, darkness covers the earth,
and total darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will shine over you,
and His glory will appear over you.
Isaiah’s words help us look forward to heavenly things, but they do more than that. They give us a lens to look through in the meantime. Yes, the Lord will shine over us, and His glory will appear over us for eternity. Hallelujah! But until then, friends, let us not overlook the current rays of light, for they will only continue to grow and stretch and expand. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you. His glory is radiating daily, currently, actively.
Like my sweet grandmother’s pin, Isaiah’s words are a remembrance of what we have and what we can look forward to. May we bask in the rays of His glory, for we know we’ll see them shining fully soon.