For centuries, the Christian Church has regarded this fourth Servant Song in Second Isaiah as a prophecy that foretells the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Certainly the New Testament uses portions of it in connection with our Lord (cf. John 12:38; Acts 8:32-33; 1 Peter 2:24-25, et al.). And yet a great air of mystery surrounds this passage. Who finally is the servant? Why has he been the object of shame and suffering all of his life? Why was he judged and killed? How did others come to recognize that he was serving God's merciful purposes?
Mary Austin Bethany Peerbolte Dean Feldmeyer George Reed Ron Love Thomas Willadsen Christopher Keating
Note: This installment is still being edited and appended, but for purposes of immediacy we are posting it for your use. Please excuse any errors or omissions. We’ll have it cleaned up soon.
For November 18, 2018:
Big Stones, Big Change by Mary Austin -- Like the disciples, we expect our biggest realities to last forever. And like the disciples, we are often surprised. This recent mid-term election overturned some unexpected foundation stones.
Another cold, autumn Wednesday evening as the sun sets early and the church council gathers into the cool, musty church basement. As they sit on the plastic chairs surrounding two rectangle tables placed together, the pastor leads in prayer and maybe a Bible passage. The council president dutifully distributes the council agenda in front of all of the attendees. An older lady member was nice enough to bake some cookies and brew some decaffeinated coffee (so people are not kept awake at night) for those present.
Contents “Mom” by C. David McKirachan “Not One Stone” by Frank Ramirez
Mom by C. David McKirachan 1 Samuel 1:4-20, 1 Samuel 2:1-10
My mother told me that if I’d been a girl, I’d have been named Hannah. It was always an incidental detail. Then my nephew and his wife gave their daughter the name and I realized it ran in the family. So I got interested. The Bible keeps surprising me. This time when I read the familiar story, I ran into something new.
I have a question for you today. The question is this: Were you scared at anything this past Halloween? Did anything frighten you like at a Halloween party or when you were out trick or treating? (children respond) Maybe with your weird masks and silly costumes you frightened someone else yourself. That's so much fun!
Well, there's fun-fear like at Halloween. And there's also not-fun-fear.
I had the privilege to be with my father when he died. I'd never seen anyone die before, and although I'm sure it must be a different experience for different people, I was amazed at what a struggle it seemed to be for him.
He wasn't in any pain, but he struggled to take off his pyjama jacket, and he struggled to have the window open, and he struggled to breathe, and it seemed as though it was a struggle to die. And although he was given various drugs which relaxed and calmed him, I still felt that underneath that surface calm, perhaps the struggle was continuing.