I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.We do not have to be Christian to love one another. We don't even have to be perfect (that is covered elsewhere.) We simply have to do our best, to have the desire, the hope, the will to try.
As I said yesterday, I keep reading the readings, my head nodding internally like my grandma's sometimes did externally, and then I hit the words 'Zion' or 'the sons of Jacob' and I feel like not only am I left out, but so many people. I wish to believe that the prophets were speaking to their audience, like the performing artists who change the names of the cities mentioned based on the city they are in. But I don't know if I can justify that.
Beyond all that, I found Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 to be sadly ironic in it's mention of Zion, for if it were to happen today, it is likely that it would be Israel the modern nation who would be the target of the vengeance. (Specifically separate from Israel as religious Jews or the descendants of Jacob as usually used in the scriptures.)
This is what I wish for all people!
61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
61:2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
61:3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.
61:4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
61:8 For I the LORD love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
61:9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed.
61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
61:11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
I saw the following comment on Twitter today and though it was a good point and well worth thinking about.
All these people who participate in religious services, service projects, donations this holiday. Why just now? Why not always?
— Suburban Physician (@BurbDoc) December 14, 2014