Isaiah poses many questions, questions that are spoken out into the world, pointing to that which can’t be contained in a single answer. Can we link remembering to imagining into the future? The voice of Isaiah reminds the people in exile that God remains steadfast from Creation forward. God holds the corners of the curtain that encompasses everything, the creative force that makes the place for all creatures to live.
Who is the One in power? The One who reduces those who rule some segment of creation to passing seasons or even to the rubble of a single storm. We see power wielded each day in systems, institutions, relationships, a single life. We grant power to others because of title and position. We grant power to others believing if they love us, choose us, we won’t have to struggle so much. We look to human systems of power to rescue us, to do for us what we don’t know how to do.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundation of the earth?” The One with lasting power is the One with lasting creativity and imagination. The One who brought all to life sustains their living and holds the corners of their dwelling places. This One can give and take away power as swiftly as a winter storm. The One who created still rules over all; earth’s rulers will fade like straw, blown about and blown away by the wind.
Gracious God, forgive us for thinking we are in charge. And forgive us for not doing what we can when we can. We hope in you and ask that you entrust to us the work of seeing and sharing, of being conduits of your creative power in a world full of hurt. Amen.
What is the ultimate source of our strength? All the authors for this week come to the same conclusion: True strength comes from the Lord. Isaiah asks his audience: Who is like God? God never grows weary and provides unfailing strength to those who wait for God. The psalmist praises God as the one who lifts up those who are beaten down. It is not those with human strength who are truly mighty but those empowered by God. In Corinthians, Paul states that he has laid down any form of his own strength so that the gospel may advance. Jesus heals many in Mark as a demonstration of his power over the physical world. Thus, God’s power is not just a metaphor but a reality.
• Read Isaiah 40:21-31. When has your focus on past events or ones yet to come caused an inability to perceive God’s work in the present?
• Read Psalm 147:1-11, 20c. What part of your life bears witness to humanity’s desire for winners and losers? How can you help others see God’s desire for wholeness?
• Read 1 Corinthians 9:16-23. What behaviors are you willing to take on or give up “for the sake of the gospel”?
• Read Mark 1:29-39. What intrigues you about the pattern of concealment and revelation in Jesus’ life that Mark’s Gospel portrays?
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