The Creation story in Genesis reveals God first creating light
that enlightens an earth bathed in darkness. God speaks
light into being. Many understand this first light of Creation
as the enlightening Spirit that God showers on creation. The
enlightening Spirit enables us to know the unknowable God.
God calls Isaiah to bear that light to the nations (42:6). He
will speak the word about God’s displeasure and reveal God’s
call to everyone to live in right relationship with God. Part of
Isaiah’s call comes in examining the ways Israel practices its
faith: the religious festivals and fasts and personal piety. The
people pay only lip service to God while turning a blind eye to
the pain and suffering of the least, the lost, and the lonely.
The fast of God’s choosing involves rolling up spiritual
sleeves and working to right wrongs perpetuated by unjust
laws, unfair labor practices. A faithful fast creates safety nets
for those unable to perform their labor. The light that shines
through the faithful, Isaiah says, brings a willingness to unloose
bonds, to undo thongs of the yoke. Healing comes both to those
liberated and to those who practice their faith in this manner.
They gain a sense of security knowing that God’s light is the
source of their strength.
We see so many instances today of the powers of darkness
that enslave people: wages that do not provide enough for minimal
support, inadequate health care for the poor, the growing
gap between the rich and the poor, and governments unable to
provide the basics of good education and safety. Only as faithful
followers of God speak up and advocate for those who have no
voice will their light “break forth like the dawn.”
Lord, give us, we pray, your enlightening Spirit that we may lift our hands and hearts to respond to those in need. Amen.
Living genuinely out of a deep inner sense of connectedness to the Trinity (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) is a common theme for this week’s texts. By living out of this spiritual center, we match our actions with our words and avoid the judgment the prophet Isaiah casts upon the people of Israel. Psalm 112 is a hymn of praise for the blessings God brings upon those who revere and follow. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he urges them to move beyond their irtation with wisdom and to go to the deeper regions of the Spirit, the source of true wis- dom. And, nally, Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, calls his listeners to move beyond the mere words of the law to the deep meaning and intent of the law.
• Read Isaiah 58:1-12. When have you felt strengthened by God for a particular task? How did your light “break forth like the dawn”?
• Read Psalm 112:1-10. Where have you been a light to those struggling in the shadows?
• Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. When have you faced unimaginable circumstances and had no words to speak? How did God’s wisdom help you in those times?
• Read Matthew 5:13-20. How do you ful ll God’s intended purpose for you as salt and light to the world?
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