Today is Friday the 4 December, in the 1st week of Advent.
Gungor featuring All Sons and Daughters sing 'Oh Light'.
Today’s reading is from the Prophet Isaiah.
Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest? On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant shall be no more, and the scoffer shall cease to be; all those alert to do evil shall be cut off— those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit, who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate, and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.
Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no longer shall his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.
This has been (as you do not need to be told) a very strange year; and at times you may have felt that there will never be an end of it. Sometimes you may have found yourself angrily asking, “Where is God in all this?”. Today’s reading is a lovely passage, appointed to be read on the first Friday in Advent, and it might be pointing you in the right direction. It comes from a time when it looked to the inhabitants of Judah as though Jerusalem was about to be captured by the Assyrians; but the message that is given to them is that all will be well. How does the prophet spread this message, do you think?
Can we look forward to a time when “they will stand in awe of the God of Israel”? How do you imagine this time…what would it be like?
Now listen again while this lovely passage is read once more, and look out for words or phrases that give you grounds for hope.
Finally, try and bring together the thoughts that the poet’s words leaves you with, and turn them into a prayer to God that makes sense in difficult times.