Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Isaiah 6:1-13; Psalm 38; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; John 7:53-8:11

All of today’s readings reveal people’s reaction to a sincere encounter with God.

In Isaiah 6:1-13 we read of Isaiah’s vision in which he saw the Lord and recognized his own uncleanness. Isaiah is purified by the righteousness of God and given a mission. Psalm 38 describes David’s overwhelming guilt – a burden too heavy for him to bear. Yet he still finds hope for deliverance. The familiar story of the Pharisees bringing a woman caught in adultery to Jesus is the reading from John 7:53-8:11. The woman expected condemnation and perhaps death but instead found respect and received a purpose. “[G]o and leave your life of sin.” The final selection is Paul’s second letter to the church of Thessalonica. The church was experiencing persecution. Paul sent them inspired words of God – words of hope and encouragement to endure.

Sometimes when I read the Bible, I forget that the individuals described there were people just like me. As I read the passages for today, I tried to put myself in their place. I was able to identify with Isaiah and recognize my uncleanness. I can relate to David since I have found myself overwhelmed with guilt and remorse. There have been times when I have been caught in sin and expected retribution and punishment like the woman caught in adultery. There have also been times where I have felt persecuted for my beliefs and, like the Thessalonians, have fallen into despair. Perhaps you can relate to the people and their situations in these stories as well.

However, Advent is the time when we celebrate God’s ultimate encounter with man. Think about the people in these stories and how their attitudes, behaviors, and very lives were changed by their encounters. Don’t let the festivities of the season cause you to miss a meeting with God where you, too, can find a mission, a reason for hope, respect, a purpose, and encouragement.

- Alan Davenport

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