I know that I promised to offer a reflection this week on being ‘Born Again.’ And I will, by Friday – honest.
But, I have been struck by a particular reading from the Prophet Isaiah, one provided in Celtic Daily Prayer.
I also apologize for the title of this blog; it was ‘inspired’ by the (long forgotten) 1970’s Chelsea Cup Final song: ‘Blue is the color, Chelsea is the name.’
The particular verse is:
‘Oh afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires,’ (Isaiah 54, 11).
So why have I been reflecting on this verse? Well two reasons:
Firstly, I seem to be surrounded by people who feel afflicted and, as the prophet says, ‘not comforted,’ (I include myself in this category).
Secondly, it is the sense of mystery, wonder and hope offered by the prophets use of the color turquoise. Turquoise is a celestial color.
The problem, or strength, of turquoise as a color and celestial as a word is that they are both incredibly difficult to define.
They are words which we can apprehend, but not comprehend (and this is a difficulty for the post Enlightenment mind). They are both ‘ish’ words. They relate to other words, but carry no concrete meaning of their own. Turquoise is both blueish and greenish. Celestial is heavenly.
Turquoise describes neither blue nor green, it takes the best of both and blends them into something far richer, deeper, mysterious and, perhaps even, divine. Turquoise is a color of ‘mixed origin’, coming from Turkey, it is a subtle blend of Asian and European.
Celestial doesn’t define heaven but simply provides us with a mysterious descriptor that reveals something of the quality of heaven and, therefore, God.
Both words are paradoxical in that they provide a snap shot of what is and may be, whilst, drawing us ever further into the ongoing mystery of that which will be.
They also both have a deeply iconic quality; if you feel ‘lashed by storms and not comforted,’ it may be worth visualizing yourself as being built with Isaiah’s ‘stones of turquoise,’ or, chewing on the word ‘celestial.’
In so doing you may be inviting God to make true the Isaiah prophecy in your own life; affliction and lack of comfort may give way to strength, depth and hope. You may begin to reflect something of the image of God to others who feel afflicted and despondent.
Would you like to be described as turquoise and celestial?
A prayer that I love:
‘Look down o Lord from your heavenly thrown, illuminate the darkness of this night with thy celestial brightness, and, from the children of light banish the deeds of darkness; through Jesus Christ our Lord,’ Amen.