(Rev. Carolyn Matthews is Pastor for Christian Education at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland, CA)
Isaiah 9:2, 6 (NASB)
2The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
6 For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Do you hear it? Have you ever sung these words? The music of George Frideric Handel plays in my head as I read these verses. In fact I can’t help but sing them as I read them. Handel’s Messiah is one of my all-time favorite musical works – to listen to and to sing. Three years ago I received as a work anniversary gift a bound copy of the Messiah. It combined the best of both worlds for me – music and a book.
This promised Child makes it possible to sing a song in the midst of darkness; in time of stress and distress. The Child grew to be the One who is our Savior and assured us “His yoke is easy and His burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). In the midst of uncertainty we can sing with confidence, “I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 9:25) and “death is swallowed up in victory” (I Corinthians 15:54). The promise of the Messiah, His life, sacrifice, and victory over death is culminated in the “Amen.”
Advent is a time of waiting. However, this time is different for us in 2020 than it was in the time of Isaiah. We wait for the opportunity to sing the carols of Christmas; we wait to celebrate the birth of the Savior. We know that salvation has been born and is our constant companion. As we wait we consider the gift of God in providing salvation and relationship with Him and with one another – that we are part of a diverse family. In the midst of our uncertainty, in the midst of a pandemic, we know and can sing with assurance, confidence, and certainty, Christ is at the right hand of God making “intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
LABC Zoom Gatherings
No Soup, But Study – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday
Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study – 10:30 a.m.
A Time for Prayer – 10:00 a.m. Saturday
LABC Sunday Worship – 10:00 a.m. Sunday