Wednesday, April 10, 2013


...has been my obsessively-favorite book of the Bible since my freshman year of college.

I started reading a Walter Brueggemann* commentary on its second half a few months ago but put it down for Lenten reading. Going back through my notes on the first few chapters this week. A few quotes which stand out from the introduction...

"This single assertion, that Yahweh has defeated Babylon and Judah is free to depart exile, is the primary theme of all of Isaiah 40-55."

"Emancipation is perhaps for a larger purpose than simply the gift of homecoming."

"The text gives 'comfort' from the God of all comfort, but not easily and not obviously- perhaps only hiddenly (see 45:15)."

"Yahweh has planned comfort for the exiles, and none can prevent it." (emphasis is text's)

"The ministry of Jesus is a glad and public homecoming for all those alienated and dislocated."

"The 'good news' is summarized: "Behold your God". Or we might say, "Look, here is your God.""

"Yahweh is present, powerful, active; Yahweh's presence changes everything."

"Yahweh is strong enough to emancipate, gentle enough to attend to wants and needs."

"On both counts of strength and attentiveness, it is asserted that Yahweh is incomparable."

So good to be comforted by learning about His character.

*Walter Brueggemann has decades of Old Testament scholarship and is widely respected as a hugely influential theologian...
And he writes prayers of praise which contain "...deep awareness of all the places where your newness is not yet visible, and has not yet come."
Learned and respected theologians... who praise simultaneously with acknowledging deeply fallow places... are just like so totally my favorites.

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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.