Today is Thursday the 16 December, in the third week of Advent.
The Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir sing 'Lux Aurumque' by Eric Whitacre.
Today’s reading is from the Prophet Isaiah.
Sing, O barren one who did not bear; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labour! For the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married, says the Lord. Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will settle the desolate towns. Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Take a moment to notice what stirred in you and stood out from the passage just read…what is staying with you…
The person addressed in the passage is described as “barren”, “widowed”, and reminded of the “shame of [their] youth”. What do you feel is going on here, between the prophet and the exiles in Babylon?
“Your descendants will possess the nations and settle the desolate towns”. Is there a message of hope here, do you think?
“Your Maker is your husband”; what strikes you about this expression? What is the message here, do you think?
“The mountains may depart, and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart”. What does this tell us about God? How has this been present looking back over the course of your own life?
Finally, what is going on in your heart at this time? Can you turn it into a prayer to God? Use your own words. O Wisdom
Lord and Ruler Root of Jesse Key of David Rising Sun King of the Nations Emmanuel Come, Lord Jesus