Invitation — Isaiah 52:7
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"
Bible Song — Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins...
I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants —
but let them not turn to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
Bible Reading — Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-6, 8a, 10b
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God...
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert...
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way...
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Leisurely read again ... is there a word or idea that stirred within you? Linger over it and give it your attention ... is there something about the reading you'd like to ask God about? Pray your life to God ... take a moment to rest in God's presence.
- for our national and local communities
- for the continent of North America
- for international crises
Prayer — BC 18
Incarnate Lord, why do we easily consider our bodies as shameful or something to get beyond, when you're quite fond of them? Forgive us for trying to be more spiritual than you are by denying our human earthiness. Overtake us with joy that you have come physically to this world, taking a face and sharing our flesh, for truly being our Immanuel, "God with us." Amen.
Blessing — Luke 1:68
"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them."