Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-9
As the new year lays out before us, it beckons us to look forward. This time of year also causes us to look back, to consider the year that has just ended. It is often a time of evaluation, of setting goals or realigning our priorities, and of taking stock of our lives. All of these are good and healthy things to do. When we take time to reflect on our lives, we live much more beyond ourselves and past the daily grind of life.
Today’s passage speaks of this idea of a life bigger than our own little worlds. The opening verse begins by declaring, “Here is my servant… my chosen one in whom I delight”. God speaks this of you and of me. We each are so much more than this collection of cells. We are God’s children, chosen by God to live a life of service to God. This spiritual life calls us beyond ourselves and the day to day of life. As God’s chosen ones, we are called to others. The rest of verse one reads, “I will put my Spirit upon him and he will bring justice to the nations”. As God’s chosen ones we are gifted with the Holy Spirit. This gift helps us to live into God’s calling. To me, this means truly living out the second commandment that Jesus gave: love neighbor. There are, of course, many ways we can love our neighbors – bringing justice is just one of them.
After reminding us the He will take hold of our hand, will keep us, and will make us a covenant and a light for the Gentiles, God goes on to get specific about how we are to bring justice and to love our neighbors. As a covenant to and a light for the people, God calls us to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release those in “dungeons of darkness”. I believe this call is both spiritual and physical. God wants us each to be a part of the healing of the world. He wants us to help people through the power of Jesus’ name. It may be physically restoring someone’s vision or helping someone learn how to make different choices so that they do not end up back in prison. It may be opening their eyes to the Word of God so that they are freed from the chains and darkness of sin. And for many, it is both physical and spiritual healing that God desires us, His chosen ones, to bring to the broken of our world.
As we each reflect back on our past year and look forward to the year ahead, may part of our time be spent considering how each of us can specifically bring healing and light and justice to those living in a broken world.