Thoughts on Isaiah 55:1-9

by Jacob Juncker

It is a theme we hear throughout Scripture.  Come to the Lord God all you who want, for in God alone will all your needs and desires be fulfilled.

In this passage, the Lord God is comforting those in exile.  God invites a people who have lived on rations to experience the abundance of God.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have struggled—lived on rations?  What was that like?  What was your experience of God in that moment?

 The people of Israel were struggling.  They were exiles in Babylon and Cyrus of Persia was moving to take Babylon for himself.  The people of God were in the midst of a war.  They struggled; and when all hope seemed lost, God spoke a word of hope.

Our calling as a church is to bear witness to and be God’s presence in the world.  I believe that we are not called to identify so much with the people of Israel in this passage that we forget our responsibility, as Christ’s body, to be Christ for a world that so desperately desires God’s love, peace, hope and joy.

 When have you spoken words or provided actions of hope to a struggling person?

As we consider expanded ministries and outreach at the church, I am often amazed at how our perceived limitations hinder what God might be able to do through us.  One of the ministries we have considered is a food pantry.  As I talk with people and organizations about what that might look like, I am often asked: “how will the church screen people to find out who is deserving?  If the church gives to all we won’t have enough resources to keep it going.”  The comments are frustrating.  Regardless of what we think we can do, in the face of our limitations we are called to embody God’s infinite love and grace.

Faith in Christ apart from community is idolatrous.  The importance of community in the Christian faith is that community moves us beyond ourselves.  Community allows us to experience Christ in our midst (c.f. Matthew 18:20)  Through Christian community we are given the great responsibility of being Christ’s body active in the world today (c.f. 1 Corinthians 12-13)  Christian community allows us to move beyond our limitations to a fuller knowledge and witness to and for God.

How has being in Christian community allowed you to move beyond your limitations? to provide hope for persons in ways you would never have been able to do alone?

I truly believe that God is calling us to do and be more than we could otherwise do and be alone.  God calls us beyond our limitations, through community, to be the very presence of God in the world.  It is a tall order, but together, we can do it in such a way that all might know the love, hope, peace and joy found only in God.