Tuesday 12 December 2023

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together. (Isaiah 40.5)


The Lost Sheep, by Project Made New.

Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
‘Here is your God!’
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

Psalm 96.7-14

7 Render to the Lord, you families of the nations:
   render to the Lord glory and might.
8 Render to the Lord the honour due to his name:
   bring offerings and come into his courts.
9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of his holiness:
   let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
10 Say among the nations that the Lord is king:
   he has made the world so firm that it can never be moved;
   and he shall judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad:
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it:
12 Let the fields rejoice, and everything in them:
   then shall all the trees of the wood shout with joy before the Lord;
13 For he comes, he comes to judge the earth:
   he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

Matthew 18:12-14

What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Advent, by Judith L. Sutherland

This year I'm giving
away the things I love.
The laughing wooden man must go.
He's stood too long
with his Alpine staff
poised to walk.
Perhaps he's daunted by the clutter
of animals, the brightness of stars,
shepherds driven into the old night.
All this has to be
translated by time
into late evenings for tired clerks.
God's coming
in a thousand forms
provokes us and time
to give
and give way.

A crow sways atop
a blue spruce,
his ugly caw
insisting an odd angelism.
Holding him
I board a red bus
buzzing with warm summer voices
talking of mortality,
editing some life
I never knew.
A few words left behind
search beneath the trees
for a lost language,
the other glove
that once belonged to time.

Behind the lighted windows
gifts smothered in silver wrapping
are peeled back to disappointment;
tears fall in the dark
with the silence of May blossoms,
bird songs and bright grass
My best gifts have been
blackbirds at the tops of trees,
your small fingers stretching for
cello strings in a sunlit room,
a brown halo of hair
stuck to the pillow
like a dried chrysanthemum.

Like the clock in the square,
we ignore a coming
that will lay questions at our feet
and cradle packages at the bus stop.
The threaded thousand strands of
in your hands
and in my hair
twist in the light,
reflect the single bright strand
on the coat of the girl heading home
from People's Drug,
weary of checking out.
This time will fade
like the crow giving up
the topmost hold
and singing himself to extinction,
like the closeted notes
of an unused cello,
or hair tamed by a stiff brush,
denying mornings;
meanwhile, we watch the horizon,
seeking second hands.

Beyond the circle of light,
the laughing man beckons me.
Miss the bus.
Leave the gifts.
Walk away.
I go
and God,
God comes.
The Christian Century 103, no.. 39, 17 Dec. 1986, p. 1140.

In this season of Advent, dear God,
for the sake of new life,
let me look ahead with courage and love.
Let me act not from fear, but from faith.
Out of my impatient nature,
may I do nothing to rush this birth,
but give it time for wholeness.
Grant me the patience to wait.
— In The Courtyard

"The One Lost Sheep." Sung by The King's Heralds.

Thirty-four men have been a part of the King’s Heralds since its founding in 1927. They have recorded over 100 albums over 30 languages a variety of musical styles, and performed world-wide. This is just one of several versions of this song they have recorded.