Looking Back (28-11-20)
Bible Reading: Isaiah 64:1,3-8
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
As we approach the season of Advent, the beginning of the Church’s year, who could have imagined, this time last year, the road we have travelled since? With lockdowns and quarantines, our lives have changed in ways we would never have dreamed of. Many have seen illness and financial hardship, and some have lost loved ones.
It is likely that there have been times when we have struggled to find God or have wondered what the loving God who we worship could be doing. Yet we are still here, we are still praying, we are still hoping, and we are still asking God for the help we need.
In our reading today, Isaiah is praying to God who has worked miracles in the past, but now seems hidden to him. Maybe that is how you feel today?
But in the looking back, Isaiah remembers God’s faithfulness, ‘no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him’. Let us wait on our faithful God and trust him to work on our behalf.
The awareness of God’s presence leads Isaiah to an awareness of his own sin, seeing even his good deeds as filthy rags or as autumn leaves that shrivel and die. We have a Saviour, let us bring to him our failings and shortcomings, and thank him for his love and forgiveness.
Isaiah finishes with a beautiful image of a potter, re-working clay in his hands. In what ways has God been re-working your life over the past year? Can you thank him for this?
How might he be shaping you for the future?
O Wisdom, Lord and Ruler, Root of Jesse, Key of David,
Rising Sun, King of the nations, Emmanuel.
Come, Lord Jesus.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Salt of the Sound)