Sunday, 6 December 2015

Speak tenderly

Isaiah 40:1-11
God’s People Are Comforted

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

How long, O Lord
until we see you
gathering your sheep
gently leading your people?
How long, O Lord
before we hear your voice
and your words of comfort?
How long, O Lord
must we wait
to see the kind of world
for which you long, with us,
for all people?
When our cries become shouts
for justice and mercy.
When our tears are turned into rivers
that sweep evil from our communities.
When our despair galvanises our complacency
propelling us out of acceptance.
When our prayers are not passive
but become actions
that change the world.
Then we shall see
the promises of God fulfilled.
Then we shall truly know
God with us.

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