Hi friends! Today's scripture continues the usual trend that we have seen the last few days. Isaiah comforts the people that are hurting while also criticizing what is happening around him. Between COVID and politics there is a lot around us that makes us hurt, angry, and critical. I think there is something in this message from Isaiah that can speak to each of us. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how this inspires you if you are willing to share!
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
Where would Jesus be in this?
What does this reveal to me about what was likely happening at the time of this writing? How does it still sound relevant today?
- My Thoughts -
A thought that I've been journaling the last few weeks is "Can we celebrate a 'new year, new me' when we've 'lost' a year?" 2020 was a year of loss...some of us lost people to the virus or to depression or addictions (caused by the virus), we lost social connection, we lost businesses, we lost planned opportunities. Heck, we even lost track of what day it was a time or two! For some I suspect the news of the vaccine being approved and officially rolling out is a bag of mixed emotions. You might not get it for awhile, or, you lost someone right before it was released and you have a sense of guilt getting something that someone you loved missed out on. In other words, the vaccine is the "new year, new me" forward thinking outlook that we all strive to have right now, but it's hard to embrace that when we still need to process the lost things of 2020.
But I think the things we lost in the church are going to be the hardest to process for many people. The church for better or for worse has been an establishment frozen in time. It's archaic in many ways and slow to change or adapt new ways. This also means that the church is one of the few places that remain for a genuine human connection and a place to be vulnerable. We've lost that this past year and church has become even more consumerist than ever before. (Consuming content rather than participating, to be clear) We've lost the passing of the peace, the receiving of the elements, the fellowship activities. When the door re-open eventually we have much to mourn before we can really embrace the future.
That's why I find the words of Isaiah 57:18b-19 to be healing:
"I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips.
May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”
says the Lord, who heals them."
I'm not sure if there is anything you are mourning right now, or something you long to "be back to normal" but I hope you find these words of scripture to be a balm. A reminder that even though we might not understand how God's healing is working, at the very least, we know that God's healing is happening. May God bless you in your healing, today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
We pray the words of El Shaddai in the UMH 123. Translation added by me
El shaddai (God Almighty), el shaddai, El Elyonna (The Most High God) Adonai;
age to age you're still the same by the power of the name.
El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Erkahmkana (We will love you) Adonai;
we will praise and lift you high, El Shaddai
(This adds in verses that aren't in the hymnal but are a great reflection of God's love from the perspective of characters and stories you are well familiar with at this point)