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Daily Encouragement - December 16

Isaiah 40:1-11 (CEB)

40 Comfort, comfort my people! says your God. 2 Speak compassionately to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended, that her penalty has been paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins!

3 A voice is crying out: “Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God! 4 Every valley will be raised up, and every mountain and hill will be flattened. Uneven ground will become level, and rough terrain a valley plain. 5 The Lord’s glory will appear, and all humanity will see it together; the Lord’s mouth has commanded it.”

6 A voice was saying: “Call out!” And another[a] said, “What should I call out?” All flesh is grass; all its loyalty is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass dries up and the flower withers when the Lord’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass dries up; the flower withers, but our God’s word will exist forever.

9 Go up on a high mountain, messenger Zion! Raise your voice and shout, messenger Jerusalem! Raise it; don’t be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 Here is the Lord God, coming with strength, with a triumphant arm, bringing his reward with him and his payment before him. 11 Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock; he will gather lambs in his arms and lift them onto his lap. He will gently guide the nursing ewes.

What is it to come home? What is home?

John Denver talked about country roads getting him there, while the Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd sang of their sweet home in Alabama.

But what is home…It’s different for each of us. Some find home with their blood relatives and long, established traditions. Some find home with the person they love the most. Some find it through new circumstances in our lives.

Patients in long-­term care may be in a place and time where home exists only in deep corridors of their memories. Maybe home can be more than just a physical place.

In the midst of all the destruction around the globe —destruction from hurricanes, typhoons, pandemics, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, droughts, and wars—finding a place to call home may seem more distant than it has before for many.

What is home? Perhaps home is simply wherever we meet. It is where we attend to the intersections, the various paths where our lives come in contact with the lives of others and with our Lord God. According to the Psalmist, home is the place where steadfast love and faithfulness will meet.

I often think of a church family as an idea that resonates of home. When in the company of others in the faith, many, myself included feel very much at home, whether in person or in connection in other ways. It is in that presence where righteousness and and peace will touch each other. It is in that place where faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.

Home is where we meet.

Dear Lord, we pray for those today who feel alone, lost and searching. May they discover a place of peace and solace in you. May we be a body of believers who are present to respond to the needs of those who need a home, and may we be bold enough to reach beyond ourselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastor Michael Williams

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