(Wondering what this is? For more information, see the introduction.)
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. – Isaiah 61
This is a passage originally penned by one of the great prophets of the Hebrew Bible, but later proclaimed by Jesus. It tells us that the mission of the one sent by God is a mission that affects all people, everywhere. It tells us that the things we value: money, power, autonomy – are of little value to God who comes to free the oppressed. Those who are freed, in turn, work to build up the world. Where is God’s freedom at work in your life, in your community? Have you experienced joy here?
In the desert, trees take root,
fresh from God’s creation;
plants and flowers and sweetest fruit
join the celebration;
rivers spring up from the earth,
barren lands adorning.
Valleys, this is your new birth;
mountains, greet the morning!
This Advent devotional is intended to help you enter into the season of advent. We hope you enjoy it! Many thanks to the Rev. Paul Jennings for his help putting these reflections together.