Todays reflection on Belonging is taken from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, a Jewish text that is understood to be sacred by both Jews and Christians alike. It is a declaration of promises from God explaining his love and commitment towards his people, it reads a little like a love letter, and speaks about how we, as his creation belong to him, that we are loved, known and cared for so much that God has engraved our names on the palm of his hands.
This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, `Come out,’ and to those in darkness, `Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
Isaiah 49:8-11, 13-16
To listen to a beautiful meditation on the passage with music and prayers by Pray As You Go then click here
Or you can read their text below.
Today is Wednesday the 3 April, in the fourth week of Lent.
The community of Taizé sing De noche iremos: ‘By night we search for the source of living water. It is only our thirst that guides our way.’ This time of prayer is an opportunity to quench that thirst a little – my thirst for God, the source of life – a chance to drink from the spring, from the source of living water, and be refreshed.
Today’s reading is from the prophet Isaiah.
What feelings does this reading convey to you? Originally the word Lent comes from an Old English word simply meaning Spring. Perhaps we’d do well to think of Lent as the greening time of the year – in the Northern Hemisphere at least – something new beginning in the natural world, life reappearing and blessing us again with springtime and hope. Could you hear that optimism, that promise of hope, in the reading?
Notice some of the words God uses through his prophet Isaiah…they’re like long brush strokes on a beautiful sky at dawn……I have answered you, I have helped you… to those who are in darkness: come into the light….to those who thirst: you will be led to springs of water…
As you hear this reading from Isaiah again, listen carefully and notice all the words and phrases of encouragement and of promise…
Why not spend a few quiet moments painting your own picture of Spring in your mind and in your imagination. What would you hope for at this greening time of the year, when life is reappearing and blessing us again with springtime and hope? In your own words, share these hopes of yours with the Lord.