The following Scripture will be used in our 10 am Worship Service Sunday, December 11, 2016
After so many years of being exiled from their land, after so many years of living in oppression, Isaiah speaks a word from God to the Jewish people to give them faith and confidence that God would save them and make a clear path for their return home.
35 The desert and the dry ground will be glad.
The dry places will be full of joy.
Flowers will grow there.
Like the first crocus in the spring,
2 the desert will bloom with flowers.
It will be very glad and shout for joy.
The glorious beauty of Lebanon will be given to it.
It will be as beautiful as the rich lands
of Carmel and Sharon.
Everyone will see the glory of the Lord.
They will see the beauty of our God.
8 A wide road will go through the land.
It will be called the Way of Holiness.
Only those who lead a holy life can use it.
“Unclean” and foolish people can’t walk on it.
9 No lions will use it.
No hungry wild animals will be on it.
None of them will be there.
Only people who have been set free will walk on it.
10 Those the Lord has saved will return to their land.
They will sing as they enter the city of Zion.
Joy that lasts forever will be
like beautiful crowns on their heads.
They will be filled with gladness and joy.
Sorrow and sighing will be gone.
The Gospel reading features Mary’s response to the promise of God through the Angel Gabriel. The promise of a Son to save her people. Her song, often referred to as The Magnificat, is a strong word of faith and confidence in God, whose promise is already at work in and through her.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in Judea’s hill country. 40 There she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby inside her jumped. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she called out, “God has blessed you more than other women. And blessed is the child you will have! 43 But why is God so kind to me? Why has the mother of my Lord come to me? 44 As soon as I heard the sound of your voice, the baby inside me jumped for joy. 45 You are a woman God has blessed. You have believed that the Lord would keep his promises to you!”
46 Mary said,
“My soul gives glory to the Lord.
47 My spirit delights in God my Savior.
48 He has taken note of me
even though I am not considered important.
From now on all people will call me blessed.
49 The Mighty One has done great things for me.
His name is holy.
50 He shows his mercy to those who have respect for him,
from parent to child down through the years.
51 He has done mighty things with his powerful arm.
He has scattered those who are proud in their deepest thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones.
But he has lifted up people who are not considered important.
53 He has filled with good things those who are hungry.
But he has sent away empty those who are rich.
54 He has helped the people of Israel, who serve him.
He has always remembered to be kind
55 to Abraham and his children down through the years.
He has done it just as he promised to our people of long ago.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she returned home.