Prayer, Plain and Simple

By Claudia Mair Burney

Wednesday, the third week of Advent

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7 NRSV

I wonder how many people reading this scripture realizes that the image used in this verse is of a messenger who ran–not walked–from Babylon to Jerusalem, covering a distance of about six hundred miles. That’s a long run! But he knew his message was urgent. I’m sure his feet hurt, blistered, and generally looked rough after only a few miles on all that hot sand. Yet his feet were beautiful because he bore the long awaited news: the God of Israel, Yahweh, was King over all other gods. And the exiles could return home. We too, have been given good news, but it came much further than six hundred miles. God stepped from eternity into time, an incomprehensible distance, to be with us; to save us; to bring us home. He reigns in our hearts, and will soon rule over all the world. This is welcome news for those who have languished here, so far away from our soul’s home. It’s good news to the “Nth” power.

God who goes the distance,

There is no greater news than that which is found in the gospels, which tell us the story of how Jesus came to save us from our sins. We are to sing for joy, as the Israelites did, for in plain sight the Lord returned to Zion. Even as I lay in ruins because of my own choices, you come in plain sight, making it hard for me to miss you. I rejoice, because your presence brings comfort to your people. You have redeemed me, and all of those who are your very own. Come my happiness and strength.

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

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