No Body but Yours
Lord, it’s not always easy to read and obey Your Word, but I want to do that, so please help me.
Read Isaiah 61:1-11
 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,  and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.  They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.  Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.  And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.  Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.  “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.  Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”  I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat blessings will this person bring to others?
This is pretty scary reading if we take seriously that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, called to work from the bottom up to help and heal in a broken world (1-3). So in your world, who are the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives and the prisoners, the grieving and the mourning to whom you can go? As well as those with no cash, there are also people who are trapped in jobs which make them feel dead inside; those forced out of work by economic cutbacks who are mourning the loss of their identity. Who else needs God’s touch through you?
If preaching (1a) is telling people about Jesus, perhaps proclaiming freedom for the captives also includes some action. I often wonder whether we have done too much preaching and not enough proclamation. Both are important, says Isaiah. Each reinforces the other.
This new way of being (4-7) might look very different and be unexpected. Today it might mean churches and communities working together in different ways. But the rest of this chapter shows us what the outcomes can be.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fall afresh today—in the world, in my community at work and at home.
Gracious Lord, show me to whom I need to go and how I am to bring the hope and help they need.
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