Isaiah 58: the chapter that changed my life

(Well, one of the chapters that changed my life–see also “The day God broke my heart.”) I pretty much underlined the whole chapter …

A reminder, Isaiah 58:6-14:

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

 

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflictedthen your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

 

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Words to remember

This Memorial Day, remember also:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

John Goldingay at Fuller’s Baccalaureate Service 2011

From this past weekend’s Baccalaureate Service at Fuller Seminary, John Goldingay speaks of God, “High and Holy, But Present with the Lowly.” Goldingay was easily one of my favorite professors during my time at Fuller–I took all of my Old Testament classes from him, and I definitely miss being in the presence of this awesome, humble and brilliant man of God. I hope you are blessed by his message:

Baccalaureate Spring 2011 from Fuller Seminary on Vimeo.

Dealing with death

A friend’s sister was killed in a motorcycle accident on Friday. She was 29. It’s been tough on my friend, obviously; and on other friends of ours who were also close with her sister. It’s been tough in ways that can’t be remedied by a simple word or even a prayer. I mean, it’s not a situation that can be remedied. It just is. And it’s awful.

I believe that God is in it with us—and especially with those who were closest to her. But that doesn’t make it any less tragic. And I believe that she’s with God. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult to sit with. And I believe that Jesus won the victory over death, and that, in the words of Mumford & Sons, paraphrasing the prophet Isaiah and John the Apostle, “there will come a day, you’ll see, with no more tears.”

But even so, for now, we mourn.

Sacrificing plowshares for swords

When times are tough, when you’ve got to tighten your belt, that’s when you know what your priorities really are. This week, Congress showed where its priorities lie: the Senate passed a war funding measure worth nearly $60 billion, while the House cut billions of dollars in aid to states and health insurance subsidies for unemployed and laid-off workers.

War over people. Swords over plowshares.

Oh, for that day …

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)