Be Strong, Fear Not, Our God Comes to Save Us

September 9, 2018

The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah is a powerful force of the wonder of God. The words proclaim a movement of God that is life-changing.  God comes into the world and when God does, nothing is the same.  The prophet tells us the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute begin to sing.  These are significant changes.  Things closed are opened.  The prophet goes on to say this even happens in nature upon the earth.  The desert blooms, the parched land finds waters flowing from within.  These powerful images are the backdrop for Jesus to enter into a personal relationship with us.

When I was child, I would love to open presents.  At Christmas time, long before the day of opening, I would scour the house looking for my parent’s hiding places.  When I found some gifts, all wrapped up, I would shake them, assess if they were clothes or toys.  I would search for hints.  On the great day of opening, the abundance of paper flew and I was thrilled at all I saw when I was opening it.  The joy was there.  The feeling of love was powerful, because I was spoiled by things to open.  But, as sometimes happen, by day two after the great opening, we tend to lose some of the initial joy and the impact is no longer as great.  Toys don’t get played with, clothes join others in the closet and all becomes routine again.

This is where the challenge lies.  How do we keep the joy, how do we stay present to the love that brought all the gifts into existence for the great opening?  God has the same challenge.  We open the gift of salvation, we are overwhelmed by His love, and then from the moment we see, from the moment we hear, from the moment we sing a new song of joy, the process begins to become routine.  Now that our eyes are opened, we don’t feel the great rush when we gain a new insight.  Because the great voice has filled our hearts, the next something doesn’t have the same shelf life.

Wonder and awe are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Prophet Isaiah is inviting us to wonder and awe. God comes with strength.  God comes with Power.  God comes to save us. God comes to save us.  That in itself is the gift that should never find us unreceptive to the magnitude of what it is. Salvation comes to us; God comes to save us.  Every day we should allow that to be our mantra.  God comes to save us.  In the Philippines I would walk amidst the children and I would call out “God comes to save”…and they would respond…“us!”  God comes to save us. May it be forever on our lips.

Reverend John J. Ouper