Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We held him in low esteem

"He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem."

Isaiah 53:3

The prophet Isaiah was a seer.  His book is also called a fifth gospel because he foresaw the Savior Christ so clearly.  Of course, we see this in retrospect.  One wonders a little bit what he thought he was saying.  It must have been somewhat mystical to him.  But he knew it was the truth, and the unimaginable came to be.  Who is this despised man and Lord?

--To have a God who is acquainted with grief, or here "familiar with pain", is to have one in whom one can confide.  One with whom one can let one's guard down.  One whom one can trust and this is "faith".

--Yesterday, the Monday before Christmas Eve, I had a lot of shopping left to do, for lettuce and fruit, for meats and cheeses and eggnog... and what not...  So, seemingly, did everybody else.  The crowds were cheerful and well behaved, as Canadians usually are.  But every five meters, or so, you would meet someone.

And everyone was in the same boat:  needing to get things done, figuring out who is going where for what and giving whom what and whether they were going to church and where and with whom.  And they all had their rawness's.

First, I met a woman, a dear friend and congregation member, my age, whose second husband just died.  I had not seen  her since his very recent death.  We just stopped in our tracks and looked at each other and fondled each other, looked in each other's serious faces, ready but not to break out into tears.  I didn't offer any condolences because I knew from experiences that it would be too much.  We would have a scene and that was not the point.   Five meters further, I met someone I work with and five meters further I met some elderly lady from the congregation.  Then I still had to go to Walmart.  In a one department store town, you are bound to run into people every time.  But not only did I meet people from the town, I met people from all the out-lying towns.  One I had not seen in a long time.  She proceeded to pour out her heart about things from 2007 and onward.   Everyone has things on their plate.  But they all feel for me.  They are very moved by my loss.  It is the worst they can imagine.  So, I am worthy to hear their griefs.  I am acquainted with pain.  My word has weight.

--So it is with the Lord who is born to us.  He bore everything we bore and more.  He cried over Jerusalem which would not repent.  So we cry this Christmas the most for those who will not turn to him. Our loved ones who have gone to be home with the Lord, are not suffering loss, we, who miss them, only have a temporary loss, but those from whom we are divided over lack of reconciliation cause us true grief.  Even Jesus prayed for those who crucified him.  

Forgive them, they don't know what they are doing.  His love is infinite. He bears everything. 

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