In chapter 61 Isaiah’s call to serve empowers us to accompany one another during these trying times. We hear the commission to share words of hope with those who need to hear and believe in that ability to overcome, or sometimes just to cope. Might “binding up the brokenhearted,” be our collective mission during times such as these?
To be brokenhearted is to experience grief or disappointment. Who among us has not experienced it? As we seek to find healing in our disappointment and grief, perhaps we can even in small increments practice gratitude to repair the effects of prolonged worry, fear, sadness, and fatigue. Giving thanks does much to improve our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Can “binding up” in this 2020 Advent season include the discipline of identifying blessings of the moment? Perhaps that awareness of God’s provision for our needs is part of the key that releases us from feeling overwhelmed by darkness.
Isaiah beautifully contrasts ways for us to find peace as we abide with others who are struggling. Together we can look for the “crown” of divine beauty in nature’s artistry and experience the protection of God’s hand as we are anointed with the “oil of joy” and praise. Such preparation allows us to more fully appreciate and use God’s gifts in the sacred sending that follows. As “oaks of righteousness” we are reminded to see God’s love as a canopy of relief, a pillar of strength, a tower of hope rooted in the rich soil of mercy and forgiveness. Just as feeling grateful can restore mind, body and spirit, journeying side-by-side with God’s people can afford us the benefits of remembering God’s unfailing grace, which brings true comfort and healing in the promise of Jesus.
Janet Jordan Altmeyer
Director of City Ministry