Today’s scripture was spoken by the prophet Isaiah to the people of Judah, who were living in the shadow of the powerful Assyrian Empire at the time. Isaiah prophesied to Judah from roughly 750 to 700 bce. The eighth century was a time of turmoil and unpredictability in the lives of Isaiah’s hearers. Toward the end of that period, Assyria besieged Judah but did not totally destroy the nation, proving to Isaiah that its inhabitants could “trust, and not be afraid.” Throughout the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah (often called First Isaiah or Isaiah of Jerusalem), the prophet counsels the people of Judah to trust God in the midst of uncertain circumstances.
Like the nation of Judah almost three thousand years ago, many parts of the world today also face an uncertain future. As we reflect on our own lives, we can identify places and feelings of unsettledness. Yet we, like Isaiah, affirm God as the source of our salvation. In our Advent waiting, we affirm God’s action and faithfulness in the past and look forward with hope. We know God’s deeds and bear witness.
This morning I read the daily entry of one of my favorite wise writers. Her word for today is trust. Trust is an appropriate word for this time of year, no matter the circumstances. We trust that the coming year will be a good one for us—that God’s salvation will bring comfort, hope, and joy.
The prophet Isaiah echoes this theme in today’s reading. “I will trust, and will not be afraid.” Trusting God and not being afraid is an important life lesson, but it is easier said than done for most of us!

Loving and gracious God, help us trust in you during times of uncertainty and turmoil. May we not be afraid. Amen.

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Leer Luke 3:7-18

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Leccionario Semanal
December 10–16, 2018
Resumen de la Escritura

As I reviewed the scripture passages for this week, a hymn titled “Rejoice, Give Thanks and Sing” kept going through my mind. The writers of this week’s texts advise us to do all these things. At this time of year, these responses often seem to come naturally for many of us. The prophet Zephaniah exhorts his audience to sing aloud and rejoice. The prophet Isaiah calls on the people of Judah to “give thanks to the Lord.” In the letter to the Philippians, Paul advises his audience to “rejoice in the Lord always.” The tone of the Luke passage for this week is more somber; through the words of John the Baptist, Luke challenges his audience to maintain right relationships with God and humanity. Taken together, these passages provide a number of life lessons.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Isaiah 12:2-6. Think about the times of uncertainty in your life. What did you fear? Who or what gave you comfort during these times?
• Read Zephaniah 3:14-20. When have you found joy in the midst of trouble? Think back on that time in your life, and give thanks for God’s presence.
• Read Luke 3:7-18. Where in your life are you being nudged to do the right thing? How will you respond?
• Read Philippians 4:4-7. At what times is God most present in your life? When do you find yourself searching for God?

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