Have the events of this past year, past month, past week not left us weary and exhausted? How often have we been made to feel powerless? What became of the hopefulness attached to the arrival of a new calendar?
Spend some time with Isaiah 40 today (read the full chapter here). These are the writings that John the Baptist used in his charge to his followers to “prepare the way of the Lord” that was central to our worship yesterday and as we celebrated the baptism of Jesus. Today, I wonder where we find the strength to do the kind of earth-moving, world changing that Isaiah proposes and John commands?
Isaiah’s prophecy is a place to find comfort for a weary world, one that is already stretched to its limits just getting through this day’s chaos. And, like I preached yesterday, when wondering “what should we do?” we need to remember that the “we” in that question includes God.
Jesus’ very presence in this world was to be the most tangible witness that God has not left us to struggle on our own. God is in it with us, all the way. And when we’re looking for a source of strength to get out of bed, to look at your phone or open the newspaper, to stay rational and realistic about what is happening around us, to imagine a safe pathway through another day, then be reminded that God is indeed in it with us and God’s strength has no limit.
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. (Is. 40:28-31)
Want some testimony on God’s limitless ability to offer strength and wisdom and courage for this world? Read about this person who developed an app helping adults with autism to make friends. Or read about this 13 year-old who raised $6K to buy Christmas presents for homeless kids. Or learn about these scientists who are pulling CO2 out of the air to make jet fuel.
We may be exhausted, but God is at work in the world and remains relentless in pursuit of God’s vision. My prayer for us today is that we find inspiration in God’s faithfulness and trust in this source of strength.
And, may peace find you this day. – Pastor Peter
Noontime community prayer: From Richard Rohr
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.