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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, December 10, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Isaiah 40:1–1

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. (NRSV)

“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.”

During a time of multiple and even historic crises, the words of the prophet Isaiah seem more urgently needed than ever before. Especially in 2020, we could all use some comfort, because we are all united in some struggle: the pandemic, social and economic unrest, climate change, racial injustice—the list could sadly go on. These issues impact all of us, and each of us needs to approach them seriously to make a difference. Yet we also seek some degree of comfort, hope, relief, especially during crisis—but how? What can we do for ourselves to find comfort in these challenging times? What can we do to open our hearts to comfort and prepare ourselves for God’s hope to enter in? Here are just a few possibilities to try:

1. Talk with God and share a thought or two.
2. Take a deep breath in, filling your lungs and slowly letting it out. Add a word of intention for each inhale and exhale.
3. Keep a gratitude journal listing something you want to hold onto each day. 
4. Keep a worry journal listing something you want to let go of each day.
5. Tell someone how thankful you are for them.
6. Take a walk and look for something beautiful.
7. Sit in silence.
8. Listen to music.
9. Water a plant and enable something to grow.
10. Learn a new fun fact for the day.
11. Read a book.
12. Do something new and explore a different experience. Be surprised.

What will you do to bring comfort and hope into your life? What will you do to bring comfort and hope into someone else’s life?

Lord, comfort those impacted by this awful pandemic. Comfort those seeking social justice. Comfort those seeking racial reconciliation. Comfort those yearning for economic recovery. Comfort all who are struggling in 2020. Lord, send hope, send comfort. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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