I started a new journal this month. It provides prompts for each day for what I am grateful for, what is on my heart, and what is my word for the day. But my favorite part is the prompt with a verse or two to write out and focus my mind on things above. It has been a comforting way to end my day. Last week, the verses were from Isaiah 61:1-3.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Early in his ministry, Jesus read these first two verses in a synagogue in Nazareth telling all in attendance that these verses were fulfilled in Him. (Luke 4:16-21) As I sat with those words that night, I realized that I needed to be reminded of these words and who Jesus is.
This past month has held a lot of grief. My heart is heavy for those who had to leave everything in Afghanistan to find freedom, but also for those who stayed by choice or by necessity. Tears have been near as I read from friends about the changes and their fears. Concerns fill me as I think about all those immigrating to an unknown place with not more than the clothes on their bodies. Our travels have brought us close to the fires in Oregon and California. For us, it is a temporary inconvenience. For the residents, they are seeing their landscape changing and their health being affected. At the same time, we hear of flooding and storms in the east and south. Lastly my heart grieves for a former colleague who lost her husband to COVID this week. She is left to raise two small children on her own and not sure of what the future holds for them.
So today I sit and pray over these words that in the midst of the hurt, beauty and joy can be found. Teresa