From: Lucia Flaherty
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Isaiah 54:13-14
In my Bible, Isaiah 54 is entitled “The Eternal Covenant of Peace.” The chapter starts by addressing a childless woman, “O barren one,” and it seems to address this woman throughout. Is this covenant of peace only for the childless woman? Is this a metaphor? Are we all [like] the childless woman in some way, having metaphorical children whom we never bear or meet? Or is this peace actually only meant for those without children?
I want to take comfort in the statement that all my children will be taught by the Lord and that their peace will be great. I want to be far from oppression and fear and terror, but maybe this is not for me. Having children, I feel exposed. A part of me that I love most in this world has been extracted from my body and is each day becoming more independent and capable and further from my (feeble) ability to protect.
God chooses to establish the barren woman, who would have been so fully looked down upon and dismissed and abandoned in her societal context, in righteousness. God roots her, provides order for her life, speaks goodness through her, speaks peace.
So maybe the children/childlessness in this passage is about physical human children. And maybe it is a metaphor. Either way, it seems to be about vulnerability, about acknowledging our places of pain and weakness and fear and letting God speak a word of peace.
I live in Jamaica Plain with James, Joan and Ursula.