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August 19, 2009 / Katie

Beauty for Ashes

A scripture reading: Isaiah 61:1-3 (NRSV).

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

The King James translates that eleventh line as “beauty for ashes,” which tends to be a well-known (and oft-sung) phrase in Christendom precisely because it is so comforting. The idea that God will bring us beauty for ashes—give us a garland—brings joy and hope out of a situation that often leaves the oppressed angry or depressed.

This post will be the first in a series I am categorizing as “Beauty for Ashes.” These will be short posts highlighting ways that I am seeing beauty for ashes in the real world.

Today, I bring you an amazing post from Queer Fat Femme called Turning Rage into Productivity. It has a great re-working of the really offensive PETA billboard everyone’s been talking about. I strongly recommend you go check out this kick-ass piece. Also thanks to Living ~400lbs for linking to it!

One Comment

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  1. Bevin / Aug 23 2009 11:04 am

    Beauty for ashes is such a touching way to say that. Thank you for the link!

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