Monday, December 7th Isaiah 40:1-5

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.” Isaiah 40:1-5

I hear three voices in reading this passage from Isaiah. I hear the richness of the tenor voice singing this passage from Handel’s “Messiah.” I hear the stirring cadence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraging his hearers with the promises of the God who will make all things right in a universe that curves toward justice. And I hear, this time only in my imagination, the words of John the Baptist welcoming pilgrims to his wilderness chapel by the river.

Comfort.

One of my best friends has been unemployed since last February. He spends every day combing the internet for job listings, sending out resumes, hoping to get an interview and a new job. He has been trying to get into a class to add some skills but the classes he needs have long waiting lists of people just like him. He needs comfort. He needs hope.

Our eyes were drawn to Fort Hood with the senseless slaughter of soldiers waiting to be processed before deploying to war. Now the “news” has turned in other directions but their families are still torn up as the Christmas season comes upon us. Comfort. Healing.

I’ve been watching the health care debate raging in the halls of decision-makers. Less than two months ago, knowing that my job is the source of our family’s health insurance, the debate about things like pre-existing conditions and the age limitations for children on the policy mattered a great deal. I spent a night in the emergency room with my son and I saw the diverse and downtrodden crowd waiting for hours for care. So the people cry out for comfort, for hope.

So many people are so quick to point out so much that they see as broken in our world today. So much is bent, so much is rough, so much is low, so much is high. We’re hungry for hope, for answers, for justice, for that Word which makes all things right.

So it is that we need to hear that voice of promise. That voice of encouragement. For we are now in the season of hope and expectation. The season of waiting.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, let our voice join those who cry out to you for hope, for help and for healing. So many of the difficulties of our lives are of our own making, so we cry out for forgiveness. So much is rooted in hate, fear and ignorance, so we cry out for insight and open minds. So much is broken, so we cry out for comfort. Come to us, Emmanuel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Monday, December 7th Isaiah 40:1-5”

  1. Cheri Says:

    Actually, it is a high tenor voice singing the “Comfort Ye” and “Every Valley” pieces from the Messiah. I’m a Messiah lover and know most of it by heart. When the Isaiah passages are read during the Advent lectionary season, it is hard to not break into song!

  2. Supreme Search 3000 Says:

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