This Sunday’s Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10
11 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
6 The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading
I’ve been working with the pastors and staff of the South Sound Co-Op these past couple of weeks creating messages and special services for the Season of Advent. The Co-Op is made up of seven area United Methodist Churches—Rochester, Oakville, Steamboat Island, Shelton, Tumwater, Olympia First and St. Andrew’s.
One upcoming service that touches me deeply is the “Blue Christmas” service at St. Andrew’s UMC in Lacey. The service is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pastors, including myself, will be available to pray with people afterward. I will also be speaking about and introducing a portion of the service about “Hope.”
While Christmas is a time of celebration of the coming of light into the world, there can be painful feelings, too.
Christmas, therefore, is about the miracle of hope. Our Scripture this Sunday is from the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah and Christians see it as speaking of hope in the coming of Christ. The message traces the lineage of Jesus going back to the time of King David and his father, Jesse. “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1)
In the darkness of Advent, many of us grieve, but the season promises us all that a child is coming. This child, God of life, incarnate in human form, gives us hope that there is life after death as well as life in the present time. The Christ of Hope renews life in us.
In each of us, God has planted life. In each hurting heart, that life is preparing to spring forth. This is the greatest gift of the season. Life is coming. It will come from within. Have Hope.
Peace and Grace,