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Encouragement

Encouragement

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 — Week of 2 Epiphany (Year One)

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 942)

Psalms 5, 6(morning) // 10, 11(evening)

Isaiah 40:25-31

Ephesians 1:15-23

Mark 1:14-28

Today’s readings are full of encouragement.

Isaiah finishes his wonderful chapter that begins “Comfort, comfort my people! says your God” with another poetic blessing. This whole section of Isaiah is a hymn of glory to God, the Holy One who has created all things and brings everything that is into being. This is the glorious God who also cares for us.

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary. His understanding is beyond human reach… (Isaiah 40:28, CEB) And because God is strong and wise, we receive strength and wisdom from God. Isaiah continues to extol this inexhaustible God who is giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. Youths will become tired and weary, young men will certainly stumble; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary. (vs. 29-31)

What a compelling image. When the pressure is on; when we are weary and worn out; when there is more than we can handle; when we don’t know what to do… Isaiah says “Wait.” Breathe deeply. Be conscious and mindful. Wait for God.

I can see in my minds eye the next movement, an eagle beginning to mount the skies. With slow and deliberate movement, a perching eagle will spread her wings, feeling for the power of the wind. And then, gently, like sliding into water, the great bird will trust itself to the sky, throwing its arms out in a wide embrace. It catches the power of the wind and goes soaring, adjusting with modest effort as it picks up the drafts. In a similar way we can run and not be weary; walk and not be faint.

That’s the image I want to take with me today when that inevitable moment of weariness comes.

And the writer’s prayer in Ephesians is another favorite. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to you. I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers, and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. (1:17-19a)

I love that phrase “the eyes of your heart.” The ancients spoke of the heart as the seat of knowledge and understanding. It was the place where mind and emotion meet. Being awake and present means having the eyes of the heart open, our awareness fixed upon our thought and feeling. With our heart firmly fixed in God — our mind and affections grounded — we can remember the hope to which he has called us. The eye of the heart in the heart of God.

What happens when we wait upon God, receiving power from God’s Spirit? What happens when the eyes of our heart are awakened to the spirit of wisdom and revelation? The gospel story shows us what happens when we wait expectantly — we experience the authenticity and power of Jesus’ presence. Jesus speaks and brings healing. The synagogue is amazed because he speaks out of his own authority, not in the name of another rabbi, like the scribes. When our source is the power of God awakened in our hearts, we also can mount up like eagles and act with authenticity and power. Like Jesus, we too can speak with our own voice. Our life is energized.

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