Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on December 2, 2014.
Prayer: Comfort, O comfort all your people. Amen
Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Who can read this passage without singing the opening to Godspell? Maybe you can even hear the blowing of the ram’s horn. What in heaven’s name is that sound and why is it starting a musical? Read the passage again with other tunes in mind and you realize how much of Handel’s Messiah comes straight from the first eleven verses Isaiah chapter 40. From Classic to Contemporary and perhaps a few hymns or camp songs in between, these verses have comforted many through the ages.
Oh, but let us not forget the original audience of this prophecy, God’s Chosen People. The Jews were surviving tough times and needed the prophet’s message of hope. The first word: Comfort. The comfort will come through God’s arrival and the people are to prepare the way of the LORD. Cue the ram’s horn and start singing again. This is what comfort sounded like a couple thousand years ago.
What does comfort sound like now? This passage hits home today as a family and our community are surviving tough times: a young person lost. There were words of hope in Facebook posts, Twitter messages, video clips and even a song on YouTube. How hard we prayed he would find his way back. How much we believed he would be fed, gathered, carried and gently led home. Somehow though, there is comfort in knowing there was, is and always will be Love for him, his family and all who are in sorrow. --Ruth Gates
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