Drawing from the prophet Isaiah, Bishop Ward invites us to throw our arms wide and to proclaim the call to social holiness, to be engaged in our world.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to announce the acceptable year of the Lord.
Our Lord Jesus Christ knew and loved this text from Isaiah. In fact, he used it as the text for his first proclamation in his home town of Nazareth. As a result, he was taken to a cliff and almost thrown over it. You can visit that spot now; it’s a very high cliff and if he had been pushed over, he would not have survived.
My friends, this is the season to realize the call of God upon our lives. It’s much easier for us to think individually about our own personal salvation, our own personal wellness, our own personal well-being, and our God certainly loves each one of us with infinite love, mercy, and grace. And yet, this text in the middle of Advent invites us to throw our arms wide and to proclaim the call to social holiness, to be engaged in our world in such ways that walls crumble, that people join hands and create through the power of the Holy Spirit, the world that God intends.
We pray often the Lord’s Prayer, “may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That my friends is the force of this text appointed for the third Sunday in Advent. May we hear this text, may we rejoice in it. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us as we move further into this text from Isaiah. The beautiful words are powerful, powerful for us. I give you a garland of praise, a mantle, a mantle of praise. I give you a strong spirit.
So in this season at the end of a very challenging calendar year, we lean toward God’s word and we give thanks because the spirit of the Lord is upon the church. May we be open to God’s latest beckoning as we move toward a beautiful and powerful and expansive celebration of Christ who comes at Christmas.