CAPC Oakland

News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland

Blogging Towards Sunday, December 11, 2022

Isaiah 35:1-10 & Matthew 1:18-25

Isaiah writes to his people who walk in the darkness of banishment and exile, enduring cultural genocide, societal enslavement and oppression in the 8th century BCE.  They have known a before and an after….before they lost their freedom and after.  The poetry of oppression begun in chapter 34 of Isaiah turns to another before and after that we read today in chapter 35. Before there was wilderness – dry land – desert.  After the intervention of the God who has seemed distant and absent where there was deathliness there will be a triad of fertility: Lebanon-Carmel-Sharon (the richest areas of agricultural fertility that the people knew in that day).  Where before there were weak hands and feeble knees, there will be strength and well-being.  Where there is no way out of the wilderness, God who is again visible active, available, and decisive, will make a way.   This highway of divine deliverance and homecoming will transform aridness and drought into waters, streams, pools, and springs.  God’s vengeance will smite the wicked and right the wrongs suffered injustice, bringing justice into an oppressive world.  Then where there is brokenness, disability, limitations, exclusion there the powers of death and dysfunction will be destroyed by the God-who-is-with-us, and life will be full, inclusive, and joyous. 

As followers of the Way of Jesus we link this sign of God’s presence and our homecoming into God’s provision with the ministry of Jesus.  Where Jesus us present the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame dance, the poor have good news brought to them (Luke 7:22).  This is the child that Joseph is invited to adopt as his own and raise without fear, going against the old, stuck, hierarchical structures of society; open to the holy disruptions through which God is making all things new.
There will be left no trace of the old sorrow of displacement or the old sighs of dysfunction.  It will be as Frederick Buechner concludes: “Joy is home…God created us in joy and for joy, and in the long run not all the darkness there is in the world and in ourselves can separate us finally from that joy, because whatever else it means to say that God created us in his image, I think it means that even when we cannot believe in him, even when we feel most spiritually bankrupt and desert by him, his mark is deep within us.  We have God’s joy in our blood” (The Longing for Home, p 128).

Questions for Reflection  & Examen:
•. What engaged, enraged, or surprised you in these texts?
•. What invitation to act, speak, be(come), or change do you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you – or to us in this text?


artwork “Attention” by Scott Erickson

About capcoakland

We are a community of faith seeking to live God's will together: that space where the passions of our hearts and the needs of the world meet in our context of Berkeley, Oakland and Piedmont. Our perspective is based from a Christian center, open to the mystery of God's presence in our world. Our core values are celebration, community & prayer. This blog is our avenue for program updates and information.

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2022 by in Blogging Towards Sunday.
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