Many of us have become cynical, inured to words of hope and succor, tired of claims of future possibilities in the power of God. Yet, Isaiah says that YHWH has sent to us a servant whose work it is to present to us strength in our weakness, light in our darkness, and hope in our despair.
The Lively Lectionary Old Testament is a blog that reflects on the Old Testament text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week.
Jeremiah’s vision of the new covenant still gleams as a distant goal of YHWH, a possible hope for a better future for all of us, human and animal and plant. And that future for us Christians is bound up in Jesus Christ who offered himself as servant of all and slave of all, giving his very life for that future.
The wilderness, wherever it is, is a very dangerous place, and always needs a pole or two to aid our passage through. And for us Christians, the pole that saves is not topped by a gleaming snake but rather by a bleeding and dying man, who cared for us enough to offer himself as a gift for all.
What we say to one another is extremely important; the 9th commandment reminds us that words can be weapons of destruction as well as building blocks of community.
If one is reading straight through the book of Genesis, arriving at chapter 17 could easily be seen as a serious letdown. However, a closer look at the context of the chapter suggests that its placement here has importance to the ongoing tale of the patriarchs and matriarchs of Israel.
After an especially heavy and frightening cloudburst, the rainbow soothes and makes plain the safety all may feel when the clouds part and the torrents of water end.
There can be no search for power over others for followers of Jesus. I find the relationship of David and Jesus to be fraught with dangers too many to enumerate, and hope that next Advent the collectors of the lectionary will do all they can to avoid this connection.
For the third Sunday of Advent we turn again to III-Isaiah, that loose collection of oracles that has played an outsized role in the formation and understanding of Christianity.
There has never been an Advent series of texts that does not include Is.40. The plangent opening lines, “Comfort, comfort, my people,” shape the very essence of the coming birth of Jesus and its attendant beauty and wonder.
It is once again Advent, that season of expectation and anxious waiting for the birth of Jesus, for Christians the long-hoped-for Messiah of the nations.