Isaiah 9:6-7

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.  Isaiah 9:6-7

 

I work in a church that cares deeply for children. With both a Day School and a Mother’s Day Out program, you can’t walk across the property without seeing children, usually doing what children do.  Any time I walk out to the parking lot in the afternoon I know I’m going to hear a chorus of little voices crying out, “It’s Pastor Kerry….Hi Pastor Kerry.”

 

I’ll admit it…I love that.  I love being a caring adult presence in the lives of little children.  I love being part of a church that will hold a special place in childhood memories.  Because I also know the darkness of life, perhaps the darkness at home for some of the children we serve, and certainly the darkness of the world in which they are growing up.

 

So the 9th chapter of Isaiah brings us today to those wonderful words, “for a child has been born for us, a son given to us…”  Perhaps we hear the echoes of Handel’s “Messiah”, certainly we see Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus.  God come to earth.  Vulnerable.  Defenseless.  Human.

 

God, in the day of Midian, made Gideon reduce his army from 33,000 to just 300, so that Israel wouldn’t get the wrong idea that they were responsible for defeating their own enemies.  God wanted to be clear that he was the one doing the rescuing.  Now even 300 warriors are reduced to a little infant.

 

One little child, enabling and inspiring a new way of being in this world and the promise of an open door to the next.  A life of righteousness and justice.  A light in the darkness.

 

This weekend is the anniversary of the deaths of 20 children, 6 educators, one mother, and the deeply disturbed young man who took all their lives.  What an absolute, tragic, insane waste.  So what do we do with that?

 

The people of Newtown have decided not to hold any kind of commerative event.  Instead, they are dedicating themselves to a “Year of Service.”  Its purpose is to encourage “small acts or large” that will bring out “the best in each other through repeated acts of service.”  They are asking residents willing to join the movement to place a candle in their window.

 

Newtown resident and psychiatrist John Woodall explains the town’s decision: “We thought, really, what grief is is a form of love, but with the loved one gone, so it’s really the heartbreak of separation from the loved one.  So the work of grief is to find a new form for that love, to find a new expression for it, a new commitment, a way to honor the love. . . . We came back to this idea that a commitment to transform that anguish into a commitment to compassion and kindness, that’s where we wanted to keep the focus.”

 

I think that is what life looks like under the Lordship of Jesus.  It makes for a world where it is good to raise children.  A world where there is help for the broken.  A world of both justice and righteousness.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, as we continue to wait for Christmas and all that means in our lives, we pray that you draw near to those who seek the peace the passes understanding that only you can give.  Transform grief into compassion, rage into kindness, and despair into hope and resolve.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

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3 Responses to “Isaiah 9:6-7”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    Your message on children, and remembering the Newton school disaster, reminds me of this biblical verse. Matthew 19:14 –
    “But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
    God bless our children, all and every one.

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