When Hope Comes to Life

This Advent, we invite you to pray alongside us through the prophecy in Isaiah 42. Each week we will meditate on the fulfillment of that prophecy as recorded in the Gospels. Together we will watch and wait in hope. We have permission to linger in our waiting. There is no need to hurry. Hope comes alive in the person of Jesus - Emmanuel, God with us.

Isaiah 42:1-9 (NLT)

“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me.

I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.

2 He will not shout or raise his voice in public.

3 He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.

He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.

4 He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth.

Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”

5 God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out.

He created the earth and everything in it.

He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth.

And it is he who says,

6 “I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.

I will take you by the hand and guard you,

and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them.

And you will be a light to guide the nations.

7 You will open the eyes of the blind.

You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.

8 “I am the LORD; that is my name!

I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.

9 Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again.

I will tell you the future before it happens.”

Matthew 12:18-22 (TMG)

Look well at my handpicked servant; I love him so much, take such delight in him. I’ve placed my Spirit on him; he’ll decree justice to the nations. But he won’t yell, won’t raise is voice; there’ll be no commotion in the streets. He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings, won’t push you into a corner. Before you know it, his justice will triumph; the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers.

For your reflection and prayer:

As you listened, was there a word, a phrase, an image, or something else that shimmered for you? Notice what it stirs in you. Have a conversation with Jesus about this.

What longings rise up in you as you meditate on this passage? Journal or sketch them.

Slowly savor any consoling words or images which God gives you in this time of prayer. Simply rest in God’s presence with them.

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God's Loyal Love

God’s Loyal Love

        God
        Of all,
        Divine
        Spirit of our
        Lives,
        Only
        You
        Are
        Loyal
        Love.
        Only You
forgiVe our guilt as far as the
        East is from the West.

© Brenda Henry

Psalm 103:1-12 (NET)
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
With all that is within me, praise his holy name!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Do not forget all his kind deeds!
He is the one who forgives all your sins,
who heals all your diseases,
who delivers your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with his loyal love and compassion,
who satisfies your life with good things,
so your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.
The Lord does what is fair,
and executes justice for all the oppressed.
The Lord revealed his faithful acts to Moses,
his deeds to the Israelites.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful;
He is patient and demonstrates great loyal love.
He does not always accuse,
and does not stay angry.
He does not deal with us as our sins deserve;
He does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.
For as the skies are high above the earth,
so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers.
As far as the eastern horizon is from the west,
so He removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us.


For Prayer and Reflection:
Is there a word, a phrase, or an image that stands out to you? What else do you notice as you and Jesus stay with that?

What kind deeds of Jesus come to your mind as you listen? Or, what is it about God’s loyal love that captivates you?

What comes to mind when you consider God’s justice?

Where is Justice?

As our community gathered to attend to Jesus in his trial before the religious elite we individually and communally experienced the redemptive power of God. Profound themes emerged in our sharing and listening to the text, the Spirit and one another. Themes such as:

Do they really think they can blindfold God?

Jesus, in his way, is destroying the structure of the Temple.

"I Am" - a place to stand

Hearing Jesus' voice in the darkeness - I am in the darkness

Freedom from false accusations: from the enemy, others, self

Weep at Jesus' beatings. Weep at the injustice of the world.

Where is Justice? When will you bring justice to the earth?

Here is my servant...my chosen one...
He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice...

In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
He will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on the earth.
Isaiah 42

Mark 14:53-65 (NIV)
They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that stood out to you as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus.

What do you notice about discernment in the text? Is there something which Jesus may be teaching you through this trial? Talk with him about it.

Be with Jesus in this story, either at a distance or by his side. Just be with him.