2012 Advent Devotion- Wednesday, December 12

by Sophie Beal, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Summer Intern (2012) and student, Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Massachusetts)

Isaiah 6:1-13

In my first college class my favorite professor told me that the fundamental question about religion is, “How do we live?” We ask ourselves this question every day as we struggle to navigate our complicated and messy world. We don’t get clear answers in our lives. Yet, we are called.

There is a translation of Isaiah from Hebrew to Greek that reads, “You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving.” This people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.”

This text sets up a distinction between listening and understanding, seeing and perceiving. Although we look with our eyes and hear with our ears, we do not comprehend with our hearts. In short, we are not fully present.

As people of faith, we aren’t called to give black and white answers, but rather to help one another pay more attention to the grey and complex. Our questions are what unite us across every tradition and every culture. It is everyone’s story: a narrative of profound unknowing. “How do we live?” G-d* responds, “First, listen.”

G-d* within us: Open us to the world around us. Our fear closes us to the “other,” our hearts have become calloused and we have closed our eyes. You are the light both around us and inside us. Help us to be present and to listen for your call. Amen.

*Spelling used by author.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)