O Lord, make haste to help me.
A country church on a state highway was trying to raise enough money to pay off the mortgage on its new Family Life Center. One of the favorites was selling tickets for catfish suppers, grilled hamburgers, even chitlins, once.
On their sign out front, the preacher would post:
June 27, 5-7 p.m
No one ever told her they thought the sign was funny or appropriate.
Isaiah is writing to exiles in Babylon describing for them what their new life in an old place will be. Water for the thirsty. Food for the hungry. God promises to make with them an everlasting covenant. And because God has done so much for them, they are to reach out to strangers, to foreign strangers....
Isaiah's message focuses on the positive. God sends rain to the earth and the rain returns to heaven. But, before returning, that rain causes seeds to sprout. Isaiah relates God's promise: "As the rain accomplishes my purpose, so does my word."
Isaiah is speaking to exiles fearing their homecoming.
When is it appropriate for us to remember the need for good soil? When is it appropriate for us to remember Isaiah's words of joy and welcome and inevitable love?
This letter is written to the church--a church that apparently has some scared people in it. The advice, "When you think demons are after you, depend on God for your protection."
As the faith community considers how best all can receive whatever help they need, can we not use the metaphors in this passage?
belt of truthAnd not metaphorical at all, prayer.
breastplate of righteousness (note, not self-righteousness)
shoes so you'll be ready to step out
shield and helmet (there's a lot of folks that will be shooting arrows at you)
Do I want the Lord to come, or would a delay be better for me?
Whoever plans to do evil will be called a mischief-maker.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, strengthen us to include others into our congregation, in all things to maintain justice, to hold fast to your commands, to trust you in all things, and to be worthy of that trust. Amen.