Daily Archives: January 2, 2021

Evening Prayer: January 2nd

Now this day is passed, Sovereign God, and we come to humbly thank you for your guiding hand throughout. Where I have not loved as you have loved, I ask forgiveness. Where I was able to make a positive difference, thank you for your light shining through. Thank you for those you have placed in my path. Surround me with your peace and protect me from your enemy. Renew within me a right spirit. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.

Daily Scripture Passage: Psalm 72:1-13

Psalm 72:1-13 (ESV)
Give the King Your Justice
Of Solomon.
72 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! 5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! 8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! 12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.

Thoughts to Ponder from Isaiah 60:1-6

Isaiah 60:1-6 (ESV)
The Future Glory of Israel
60 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.

The Christmas season comes to a close tomorrow with Epiphany. This season comes to close with a burst of light – something like a spectacular fireworks display at the end of a big celebration. Epiphany is the shining revelation of Jesus as the Light and Savior of the world. The magi, glimpsing his light, are the first of the multitudes who will come to him “from the east and the west” to form a new people of God (Matthew 8:11).

Long before the magi, a prophet named Isaiah also saw multitudes united in praise of God. His vision was a confident assurance that God would make his people into a light to the nations. But how impossible this glorious destiny must have seemed to the prophet’s first audience! They were the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their ruined city and its Temple. And they were anything but joyful and radiant because the venture wasn’t going so well.

There was drought, and their crops failed. The rebuilt Temple was a disappointment – a poor relative of Solomon’s glorious construction. The neighboring nations were hostile. And perhaps most bitter of all, God’s people themselves were divided. Relatively few had returned to rebuild, and those who trickled in were quarreling and forming factions. What a contrast with the prophet’s picture of all the exiles streaming into Jerusalem, along with caravans from every nation – one people praising God together!

Maybe this picture seems out of reach to us as well. After all, we too are divided. We are hardly the unified family Jesus calls us to be. But the prophet tells us: Shake off gloom and “raise your eyes” to the higher vision of what God is doing. His Spirit is at work to heal and unify – in official dialogues with theologians, in on-the-ground encounters involving Christians of all traditions, and in more ways than we can know. Let’s support these works and pray for them. Without denying our differences, let’s honor what we have in common with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. And let’s earnestly pray: Lord make us one!