We are happy to welcome ministry-focused college and seminary students from around the country and overseas to write in June of 2020 for The Park Forum. Each of them is pursuing a career in ministry and received free coaching on their writing as a part of the program. For more information about the program and a profile of each of our student writers, visit our Student Writers Month page.
Today’s student writer is Morgan Fikkert, a student at Covenant Theological Seminary.
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 51:7-8, 21-23
“Hear me, you who know what is right,
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation through all generations.”
… Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
made drunk, but not with wine.
This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
your God, who defends his people:
“See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again.
I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
who said to you,
‘Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.’
And you made your back like the ground,
like a street to be walked on.”
Reflection: The Cup
By Morgan Fikkert
The world often seems hopeless, devoid of the signs of life that God has promised in Jesus. Isaiah reminds us that, despite what we see from a human perspective, God is at work. He will soon lift the fog of evil in the world and restore all things. Christ’s death and resurrection is the assurance and archetype for our own hope: the greatest evil turned for the greatest good. We look forward with hope even in the midst of struggle.
This poem ties together several biblical images from Isaiah 51 and other passages, three of which I will note here.
“God-wrestlers” refers to Jacob’s wrestling match with the angel of the Lord when Yahweh renames him “Israel” (Genesis 32.22-32). The idea of gripping a heel refers to two stories: one, the promise of a Savior who will receive a bruised heel as he crushes Satan’s head; and two, the story of Jacob gripping Esau’s heel as they were born (Genesis 3.15; Genesis 25.21-26). Lastly, the recurring image of a cup of wine represents both God’s wrath and Jesus’ blood (Matthew 26.39; Jeremiah 25.15; Revelation 14.9-10; John 19.28-29; Luke 22.20).
We are called the God-wrestlers,
born through pain into struggle,
but gripping a promise
as a hand grasps a heel.
We are mocked by shouts of opposition
in the streets of the nations, of the world —
even of our own city.
How could the light of the faraway sun
dispel the fog of these angry cries?
How could tiny moth or worm eat up
the oppressive purple robes of royalty?
How could the blood-red wine of wrath —
which left us staggering, drunk with our own
regret, pain, confusion, and guilt —
be filled again for another’s lips?
“I thirst,” he gasps.
He was born through pain into struggle,
gripping a promise by the heel.
He was assaulted by shouts and thorns and nails
in the streets of the city he formed
with a word.
The darkness deepened,
blood poured out,
after 3 days,
when death was irrevocable —
the faraway sun came near,
dismissed the fog,
brought low the high,
crushed the head.
And with bruised heel
and pierced hands,
We are called the God-wrestlers.
In the fog of pain and doubt,
gripping the promise,
a loaf of bread and a cup of wine,
we too will rise.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who trust in him! — Psalm 34.8
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle
Isaiah 51 (Listen – 4:35)
Revelation 21 (Listen – 4:34)
This Weekend’s Readings
Isaiah 52 (Listen – 2:46) Revelation 22 (Listen – 3:59)
Isaiah 53 (Listen – 2:39) Matthew 1 (Listen – 3:29)
Read more about Liquid Wrath and Liquid Forgiveness
God’s liquid wrath flows from his love for the victims of injustice. It is fueled not by simplistic destructive retribution, but redemptive restoration.
Read more about Greater Footstool, Greater God, Greater Redeemer
Christ, who is higher and greater than anyone has imagined, would become less and lower than anyone would imagine, to do for us what no one could imagine.