Popular Posts

Friday, 15 January 2016

Cold Comfort

Cold comfort?

Wrestling with those opening verses of Isaiah 40 this morning. Hard to reconcile the God of love with a God who pours out double punishment on people for their sins. Am I reading this wrong? Is it really meaning that he gives double blessing to those who have been suffering greatly? Any insights on this out there?

Led me to think about how John the Baptist’s audience heard his cry (from verse 3 of Isaiah 40) about preparing the way in the desert. They would certainly have felt they were in a desert, with the Romans in control, so how would they have understood the injunction to clear a path for God’s glory to be seen by all mankind? Seems like they responded on a personal level – what about corporately though? I guess the Temple largely ignored him or thought of him as a solitary and singular figure.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection and ascension, though, those who prepared the way were filled with the Holy Spirit and the glory of the Lord was certainly revealed. As it still is.

On to today’s persecuted church. What do our brothers and sisters make of these verses, if they even have time and space to consider them? I’ve just read an article on the report by Open Doors on the state of the persecuted church in 2015 and it makes grim reading. Scattered and frightened, fleeing situations of brutality and often having no safe haven to run to, how can they prepare the way for the Lord? 

Where is there comfort for them? Is the onus on us to be speaking tenderly to our brothers and sisters and reassuring them that the tough times are over? But are they? And I am not happy with the implication from this reading that they are suffering because of their sins, when our sins are just as heinous.

What about the state of the church in the west? Today’s news coverage is all about the Anglican Community’s sanctioning of the American Episcopal church for its stance on gay marriage. More fracturing, more disunity but how to repair it? 

What I take from this reading this morning is that we are all in the desert and somehow in that desert we are to make an effort to remove the impediments which promote division and discord. How do we even identify these with integrity and love? 

Conclusion today is that more than ever we need to live and walk close to the Lord as the body of Christ, because only he can guide us on the way forward. That as we come together in humility and in a spirit of seeking the way forward, he will highlight and demolish strongholds of division and discord. And as these things happen, all mankind will see it and marvel and recognise the glory of the Lord. 

My prayers are powerful and effective, according to God’s word, so I better get on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment