Episcopal Church in Minnesota
 
Environmental Stewardship Commission
(MEESC)
Lectionary Reflection
All Years, Christmas Day II, Old Testament Lesson

Isaiah 62: 6-7, 10-12:
 
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,  
     I have posted sentinels;  
all day and all night  
     they shall never be silent.  
You who remind the LORD,  
     take no rest,  
and give him no rest  
     until he establishes Jerusalem  
     and makes it renowned throughout the earth.  
Go through, go through the gates,  
     prepare the way for the people;  
build up, build up the highway,  
     clear it of stones,  
     lift up an ensign over the peoples. 
The LORD has proclaimed  
     to the end of the earth:  
Say to daughter Zion,  
     "See, your salvation comes;  
his reward is with him,  
     and his recompense before him."  
They shall be called, "The Holy People,  
     The Redeemed of the LORD";  
and you shall be called, "Sought Out,  
     A City Not Forsaken." 
 
Reflection on Isaiah 62: 6-7, 10-12:
by the Rev John Gibbs
 
What we look for at dawn's early light tells who we are, and to whom (or what) we belong. "At dawn's early light" some of us search for "the glory of the Lord" that shines always around shepherds (that is, ministers of the Gospel) "keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). Remember: Bonhoeffer, Niemuller, Martin Luther King, Jr.  What carries us from midnight to dawn is prophetic hope, hope that God will "prepare the way for the people" (Is. 62:10) and make them God's own. "See, your salvation comes" (Is. 62:11) that is the message of Christmas dawn. It is the ancient message of "Shalom," restoration of relationships to health and wholeness, return from darkness to the new dawn of our "goodness" as being "fit" (Hebrew tob, Gen. 1) and ready to serve God's purpose.
 
When our salvation comes, it is not a private matter but a public one: "and you shall be called 'Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken'" (62:12). However indictable or impeachable the darkness within you or me may be, the whole community is sought out by God, and not forsaken. "The Holy People" (62:12) are "not afraid" at God's near approach, for they see what this God does: "I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people" (Lk. 2:10).
 
At dawn's early light on Christmas Day we do not strain to see a cemetery monument that will proclaim our good deeds or our righteousness (Ps. 97:11-12). First light of Christmas discloses only this much about us, and that is gift more than enough: "Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken." Especially on this day "the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared" (Titus 3:4).
 



John G. Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN.   He originally wrote this reflection in 1998.  He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

<MEESC
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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