The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Isaiah 61:1-2a)
It occurs to me as I read these words from Isaiah that Jesus himself read from the scroll in Nazareth at the very beginning of his earthly ministry, that it would be nice to have a year of the Lord’s favor, because 2020 does not seem to have been it. This Advent season has reminded me all the more why we needed Jesus to come in the first place, and why we still need Jesus to come in what ever way he chooses.
I am reminded of one of my favorite songs that clergywomen used to sing when we gathered – in the days when clergywomen were few and we would gather for mutual support, and to tell our stories to one another. “I want a Savior. I need a Savior. I need to know that God is near, not far away,” we sang. Advent is one of the times when we take some time to reflect on why the world needed a savior in the first place, and why we still (especially) need one now. And to rejoice that we know that we do have a Savior, and he is as close to us as our next breath.
I still read a print newspaper, and am daily appalled at what the headlines tell me each day. I can imagine that as newspapers and news internet links are typed out, God must weep. And God sees how much we really do need a Savior.
God reads over the shoulder of the printer: Three Hurt in Raleigh Shooting
One killed in shooting in Kinston
Three injured in Greenville shootings
Jacksonville police investigate two deadly shootings
God reads over the shoulder of the printer: Wildfire threats in Southern California
Thanksgiving COVID cases coming soon
Fauci: Christmas could be worse than Thanksgiving
God reads over the shoulder of the printer: Trump and Biden hold dueling health events
Relief bill stalled as Congress argues
Human trafficking uncovered in North Carolina
And as I read, I wonder what our Lord must think of the human race these days. Yes, it does sound to me like we need a Savior. Here in Eastern North Carolina, and all over the world. And yet, we know that the Savior has already come – even as we await the celebration of that coming. We do not have to live in the hope that he will come, we have only to open hearts and minds to welcome him. Maybe this season of smaller, quieter celebrations is a time for us to reset, and give thanks that Christ has come into the world, and pray that Christ will come into the hearts of many. Including yours and mine.
Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Who in the time appointed, his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression, and rule in equity.
He comes with succor speedy to those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy and bid the weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemned and dying, are precious in his sight.
Pastor Rachel Moser