Tuesday 14 July 2020

Today is Tuesday the 14 July, in the 15th week of Ordinary Time.

The monks of Pluscarden Abbey sing the Benedictus: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!  He has visited his people and redeemed them. He has raised up for us a mighty saviour in the house of David his servant, as he promised by the lips of holy men, those who were his prophets from of old. A saviour who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us.

So his love for our ancestors is fulfilled and his holy covenant remembered. He swore to Abraham our father to grant us, that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes, we might serve him in holiness and justice all the days of our life in his presence.”

Today’s reading is from the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went up to attack Jerusalem, but could not mount an attack against it. When the house of David heard that Aram had allied itself with Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. Then the Lord said to Isaiah, Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, and say to him, Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. Because Aram—with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah—has plotted evil against you, saying, Let us go up against Judah and cut off Jerusalem and conquer it for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel king in it; therefore thus says the Lord God:
It shall not stand,
   and it shall not come to pass.
For the head of Aram is Damascus,
   and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
(Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered, no longer a people.)
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
   and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you do not stand firm in faith,
   you shall not stand at all.

There’s both anger and fear in today’s reading. Jerusalem’s enemies are full of rage and planning to attack. Ahaz and his people are shaking with fear. The Lord sends Isaiah to Ahaz to reassure him and encourage him not to be frightened. What people or situations are causing you fear at the moment?
Is there anything or anyone who is making you angry? Share these feelings of fear or anger with Jesus now.

Where in your life do you need to know God’s peace at this time? What is causing you anxiety or distress? In the quiet and stillness imagine God’s love flowing through you bringing peace and healing both for yourself and for others.

As you listen again think about what it means for you to stand firm in faith in these challenging times.

As you come to the close of this time of reflection, ask the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and counsellor.                                    

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.