Unlimited Hope, Expansive Mercy, Abundant Pardon: Isaiah 55:1-13

DSC02915This is a guest post from Jill Clingan, one of my co-editors with Practicing Families.

I have never really liked these verses from Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In fact, when choosing the scripture to write about for the third week of Lent, I didn’t even consider the text from Isaiah 55 at first.  Once I read verses 8-9, I could see nothing else, and all I could remember was hearing this passage as a religious cliché in contexts that made me uncomfortable and even angry:

A teenage boy commits suicide after years of struggling with depression:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord. Continue reading “Unlimited Hope, Expansive Mercy, Abundant Pardon: Isaiah 55:1-13”

Wednesday Worship Piece: God’s Abundance

This week I’m working with the Gospel lectionary reading, Matthew 14:13-21–the feeding of the 5,000+.  We will be talking about the abundance of God, which also ties in nicely with the Isaiah 55 reading.  Here are a couple of pieces I have written for Sunday’s worship:

Call to Worship

Come, all you who are thirsty!
Come, all you who are hungry!
Come to the waters.
Come to the hillside.
Buy wine and milk, without money and without cost.
Take these fish and these loaves–take as much as you want.
We know the rain comes down from heaven, making the earth bud and flourish.
We have heard that all ate and were filled–5,000 men, plus women and children.
Come, all of you who fear there is not enough.
Come and know the abundance of our God!

Assurance of Pardon or Benediction

Our God is a God of abundance! Where we have been wounded, God holds and heals us as a loving parent. Where we have sinned, God grants forgiveness through Christ Jesus. Where we are called to give more than we think we have, God empowers and sustains us through the Holy Spirit. May the abundant healing, grace, and power of God be alive in you, now and forevermore. Amen.

You can also find some good worship liturgies at the Worship Offerings blog.

And finally, a quote from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.  This is from a longer poem titled “Six Recognitions of the Lord,” from her book Thirst:

. . . in summer there is
everywhere the luminous sprawl of gifts,
the hospitality of the Lord . . .




Wedensday Worship Piece: Call to Worship

Our congregation shares the Lord’s Supper on the second Sunday of each month, but I know many churches with monthly communion celebrate the table on the first Sunday of the month.  So I’m sharing with you a call to worship that is appropriate for a worship time that includes communion. It is inspired by Isaiah 55:1-2

Call to Worship

Come, all you who are thirsty.
We come to drink from the cup of salvation.
Come, all you who are hungry.
We come to eat the bread of life.
Here, at the Lord’s table, we will eat and drink what is good.
Our souls will delight in the richest fare.
Let us gather now as a family around the table.
Let us worship God together.