Here are questions for us to prayerfully consider as we prepare for worship this Sunday (the lessons are from the Track 2 option). We hope you will find them a useful resource as you prepare to receive them in church. Click on the red headings below to go to the reading.
This passage comes from near the end of the book of Isaiah. The whole book has included a range of pronouncements and emotions from the prophet and from the Lord. A repeated theme is God’s desire to be in relationship with God’s people. There are various impediments that people put in the way of that relationship with God, including various types of sin, most of which are related to injustice towards others. Another barrier is when God’s people believe they are better than others. Here is an example of that attitude in a verse from this week’s reading: “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” When have we experienced that attitude of being better than others, especially for religious or moral reasons? Were we the one with the attitude? Or did others treat us that way? How did it create a barrier not only with the other person or group, but with God?
In several passages of Scripture, like this one, the Lord reveals his concern for people in poverty. How does that divine attitude shape us in our relationship with people who are poor? Our Baptismal Covenant includes these questions, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” Also, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”
Paul writes that our baptism unites us all in Christ and that natural distinctions (gender, ethnicity, social status) no longer separate us or make one group better than another. Who are people you might be tempted to feel you are different from or better than? How can this passage help you to re-imagine how you see other people in and through Christ?
When have you encountered someone who was scary or unpredictable? What was going on that caused you to feel that way? How did you respond? What did you learn?