2012 Advent Devotion- Wednesday, December 19

by John Russell Stanger, organizer of mission and advocacy, Presbyterian Welcome (New York, New York)

Isaiah 11:10-16

As we anticipate the coming of Christ, this passage reminds us of God’s promise to renew all things. Yet, the brokenness of the world cuts so deep that we are often overwhelmed. We see it on global, national, communal, and familial levels. Sometimes we can hardly see the vision of peace and justice that God promises.

Isaiah prophesies a time when God will gather up Israel and heal the pain and discord within the people of God. But I am struck by the parallel between the splintering of Israel and the brokenness we experience within ourselves. Like a nation divided against itself, there are parts of our created identity that we mistakenly believe are irreconcilable. For some of us it is our feelings of inadequacy and our callings. For others it is our sexuality or gender identity and our faith. We cannot dream of ourselves as whole.

But God is the one who brings scattered people back together. God reconciles us through faith. When we realize that we are all being knitted together by God, we begin to live in peace within our own skin, a peace that we can share in our relationships. When we learn to love ourselves, we can better love others and help them to love themselves.

God, gather up the dispersed parts of us, the parts we cannot accept. Knit us back together and give us peace, that we might manifest your peace in the world. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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