First Thoughts on the Lectionary: January 12, 2014

Isaiah 42:1-9
42:1 Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

42:2 He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;

42:3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

42:4 He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

42:5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:

42:6 I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,

42:7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

42:8 I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.

42:9 See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Matthew 3:13-17
3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.

3:14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

3:15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.

3:16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

I am not a theologian, but it is hard to read these texts without thinking of all of the theological implications associated with them. But let me try.

What if we were to hear these texts as spoken to us. Even to you, personally. Imagine that God has chosen you: that you are the one in whom God delights.

Certainly there are challenges that come with being chosen or called by God. Challenges like: to bring forth justice to the nations. Whew!!! But is than not what we talk about al of the time?

Then there is the beautiful, tender image of doing justice; not breaking a bruised reed, or quenching a dimly lit wick.

And we are not to grow faint or be crushed.

In summary, we have the promise that God has called us by name, called us in righteousness, and will sustain us, and assures us that God has given us a calling to be a light to all the nations: to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

What if this call is to us?

And what if the Mathew text were also for us?

This is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.

It’s enough to make one cry. How often I have wanted God, or a parent, or someone, to say that to me. Is it possible that this message is really for me? Does not Jesus say that we are all children of God?

I think we are invited by the scriptures to imagine God talking to us. So here are my words to you!

God has chosen you, yes you. God’s soul takes great delight in you. And God will sustain you.

You are to bring justice to the nations, and you shall do so in such a gentle manner that you shall not break a bruised reed or snuff a dimly lit wick.

You are not to be crushed or grow faint in this work, but are to be a light to all the nations: to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness

You, yes, you, are thus called. And God will respond to your life by saying:

This is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.

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About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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3 Responses to First Thoughts on the Lectionary: January 12, 2014

  1. Powerful… deeply powerful, reading these words as addressed to me. I need to ponder on this more deeply. Thank you so much, Newell!

    Like

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