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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, December 10, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 42:1–4

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
   my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
   he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
   or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
   and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
   he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be crushed
   until he has established justice in the earth;
   and the coastlands wait for his teaching. (NRSV)

I love a good church processional. Be it reflective, jubilant, somber, or celebratory, it sets the tone for worship. It’s akin to a brief pilgrimage that prepares everyone for participation in the service. In December, as we move through the season of Advent, it is our charge as worshipers to prepare for the arrival of Christ in the world. True, the procession of gifts and holiday parties and joyful caroling set the tone for the arrival of Christmas, but what can we do, as individuals, to anticipate the holy night of Jesus’ birth?

Isaiah offers us insight. Starting with the opening words, “Here is my servant . . . in whom my soul delights,” today’s passage portends that stunning moment of Jesus’ baptism, when the voice rolled down from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In the next verses, the prophet foretells the revolutionary nature of Jesus’ life, centuries before it would be told in the Gospels: this holy one will bring justice and judgment, but his nature is so gentle that he will neither extinguish the weakest ember nor break a bruised reed. In our contemporary world, where too often we hear only the loudest voices or yield too readily to fearfulness or aggression, Isaiah prepares hearts and minds for the antidote: a servant who will be a light unto the nations, a being who “will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth.”

Lord of all, as we anticipate the arrival of your Son in the world, may the words of the prophet Isaiah speak to us, and lend us insights into Christ’s nature, so that we may be fully prepared to receive his gifts and follow his teaching. Amen.

Written by Sarah Forbes Orwig, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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