Saturday, December 7

Reader: “the glory of the Lord will be revealed,”    

Response: “and all people will see it together.”

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-11

“Comfort, comfort my people,”

    says your God. 

“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.

Tell her that her sad days are gone

    and her sins are pardoned.

Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over

    for all her sins.” 

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,

“Clear the way through the wilderness

    for the Lord!

Make a straight highway through the wasteland

    for our God!

“Comfort Ye, My People”   Robert Shaw Chorale, 

Fill in the valleys,

    and level the mountains and hills.

Straighten the curves,

    and smooth out the rough places. 

“Every Valley”   Jon Humphrey and Atlanta Symphony

Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

    and all people will see it together.

    The Lord has spoken!”   Gramophone Chorus  wow!

A voice said, “Shout!”

    I asked, “What should I shout?”

“Shout that people are like the grass.

    Their beauty fades as quickly

    as the flowers in a field. 

The grass withers and the flowers fade

    beneath the breath of the Lord.

    And so it is with people. 

The grass withers and the flowers fade,

    but the word of our God stands forever.” 

O Zion, messenger of good news,

    shout from the mountaintops!

Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.

    Shout, and do not be afraid.

Tell the towns of Judah,

    “Your God is coming!” 

Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.

    He will rule with a powerful arm.

    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd.

    He will carry the lambs in his arms,

holding them close to his heart.

    He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.    Barbara Bonney

Reader: “The prophetic words of Isaiah. . .”

Response: “The Lord is coming.”

Some thoughts:
One would be hard pressed to find a section of Scripture where nearly every verse has been set to music. Such is the case with this portion. Beginning with Isaiah chapter forty, we have a prophetic voice speaking to what is yet to happen. These are recognized as the words of John the Baptist proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. But they are words that also apply to the coming age when Christ returns and makes all things new. The world as we know it will be redeemed. All things will be made new. In our present state, we are unable to see, comprehend, or even imagine God’s new creation. There is a faint hint, at least it begins to move us to see things differently in C. S. Lewis’ little book, “The Great Divorce.” In it, redeemed things have different “physical” properties, the description of which we have no parallels in this world. Isaiah speaks of the realities of this world. The grass withers and fades; it’s beauty fleeting. As I write this in the early days of October, I’m sitting in a little library in Eureka, Illinois, looking out the window at the beautiful dark green grass knowing that in a few short weeks it will be dead, brown and frozen. The leaves are beginning to turn and we are moving ever closer to the coming of the Lord. Some of you are thinking, “No, you are just getting ready for another winter and the cycle goes on.” That’s actually not true. The unique and great thing of the coming kingdom of which Isaiah speaks above, is that God’s time is not circular, but rather has a beginning, middle, and ending. The coming of the Savior, his mission, and return to his Father was real and part of this long progression to the end when he will make all things new. The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all people will see it. The Lord has said so! Look for that opportunity to tell the good news as you go through this day.

Music: See Above Selections

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, and until the Lord comes again. Amen.  

―Jude, a son of Mary and Joseph and the earthly brother of Jesus