Monday, 7 December 2015

Courage and strength

Isaiah 41:1-10
Israel Assured of God’s Help
Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
Who has roused a victor from the east,
summoned him to his service?
He delivers up nations to him,
and tramples kings under foot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them and passes on safely,
scarcely touching the path with his feet.
Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, am first,
and will be with the last.
The coastlands have seen and are afraid,
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
Each one helps the other,
saying to one another, “Take courage!”
The artisan encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

The first and the last says
Do not be afraid
Work together
Take courage
God who has chosen you
will strengthen you:
Words of comfort
in the midst of despair
Words of encouragement
in the midst of fear
Words that call us to be active
not passive
to be engaged
not complacent
Words that help us
live in hope.

God, when we feel discouraged or despairing, remind us that you have chosen us and will never abandon us. Give us courage and strength to do what is right, to keep hope and love alive.

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