Friday, Dec. 9  Read Isaiah 35:1-10

from Beverly Dale, United Christian Church, Levittown, PA:

Such comforting images: Blooming deserts, singing flowers, rains’ abundance, renewed and strengthened bones ready for the homeward journey of exiles who walk always under the safe protection of God. But all of this joyful delight rests on a problematic idea that protection is by a vengeful God. And while this certainly comforts the war-weary exiles, is it consistent with Jesus’ teaching that God knows the hairs on all of our heads? Does God not love and protect our enemies as well- even those who are oppressing us? In addition, this wonderful homeward bound protection is only offered to a certain group of insiders – the ritually pure. A scriptural judgment is being made as to who belongs on this journey with us, a classic inside-outside view. But, is our celebration of God always dependent upon the exclusion of others? How can this be good news if an open invitation is not extended to all to come home to the feast God has prepared?


O Protecting God, forgive me when, in my security or privilege, I may exclude others or fail to be sensitive to the twists and turns they have on their life journey. Show me how to be protective of others who may not feel accepted, or perhaps even acceptable.

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