Paul admonishes us to “discern the body.” This remains a crucial practice, especially in congregations that value diversity.
It is important to notice to whom King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” is addressed.
The gifts the magi brought Jesus were highly symbolic. They might also have been very practical.
As we begin a new year, we are invited to recount our blessings and reframe our dreams. We do so as part of a community who has experienced salvation.
In this text the promise is that the people will sing for joy. We will sing many carols as part of worship this morning. I trust that the carols will connect us to the defiant hope of the prophet.
In this text the hope is that “a child will be born for us…he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The promise of Immanuel is our strongest and greatest source of hope for it is the promise that we are never alone.
Most of us are not strangers to failure. This text promises that failure, which is experienced as burning wilderness, is the raw material of hope.
Isaiah’s hope is not naïve optimism. It is a defiant way of life based in the promise that peace is the ultimate will of God.
The beating of swords into plowshares would have been a defiant act, a statement that Israel’s faith in the power of its army was a misplaced faith.