S (Scripture): Isaiah 44
But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
and my blessing on your offspring.
They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,”
another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,”
and adopt the name of Israel.
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?
Let them tell us what is yet to be.
Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one.
O (Observation): Today’s word proves once again that God has always been about loving the world, not just one nation. God identifies with Israel, and promised – in ages past – to see God’s people become numerous and to be a blessing to the world.
Some would be children of Israel already. Some will be identified through the name of Jacob – also a part of God’s family. And yet others will wish to have the name of “The Lord,” like one adopted by God.
Through adoption or through being raised in the faith, God’s love is open to all.
A (Application): So many people that I know are disenchanted with the Church. Too much hypocrisy. Too many scandals. Too much fake-ness. Too much judgment.
And who can blame them. They are right to lack faith in the Church. They are right to be upset.
Yet our faith resides not in the Church, but in the Lord. The Lord is our strength. The Lord is the one who adopts us and calls us “Children.”
Our hope is that as the Church, we can reclaim the goodness of our God who accepts us and loves us as we are…and continues to work on us our whole lives long.
May we see a reformation in the Church once again, that we might embrace the message of grace and justice for all the earth.
P (Prayer): Lord, move us to holy discontent with regard to the status quo. Help us to live into our identity as members of the body of Christ, gifted differently for the sake of serving this whole world. Amen.