Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Isaiah 11:1-9 (NRSV)
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
Those of us who considered ourselves the bards of the McKenzie Elementary lunchroom thought we were pretty clever when we composed parodies of Christmas carols. As I got older, I began to appreciate variations and parodies of quotations and clichés from numerous sources, including – yes – scripture.
I especially enjoyed “The Alternate Leopard and Kid,” which posited, “The leopard shall lie down with the kid, but the kid must be replaced occasionally.” However cynical it might have been, I felt like it got there through honest observation of the real world.
These days, I’ve about had my fill of cynicism. Even the real world is losing a lot of its appeal. I haven’t lost my appreciation for honest observation, but I’m not observing the things that gave me a kick a few years ago.
I find myself feeling tremendous gratitude and even a little empathy for our ancestors in faith. They lived in times more frightening than ours, and survived more than most of us will ever endure. Still, they dared to hope that our world would see a day when our Savior “shall not judge by what his eyes see… but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.”
Almighty God, save us from the curse of cynicism. Open our hearts to the plight of those in need. Empower us not only to pray for those who are suffering, but to serve them, as in Christ we have been served. Amen.
Go with God!