To Bind up the Brokenhearted

This past week while preparing songs for the second Sunday of advent, I couldn’t help but feel inadequate.  Yes, those feelings hound us all from time to time.  My thoughts kept drifting to extended family situations, those which happened long ago, and some more recent, even though I was rehearsing words like….

“Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free”

Sunday came and our worship practice was rushed.  Some of us had arrived late due to freezing rain the night before. Everything had been frozen over with a thick sheet of ice.  My entire vehicle was imprisoned in a hard glossy shell. As I yanked on the handle to try to open the door I heard….

“From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee”

My husband was away, and I sat alone near the front.  As the church filled for the first service I kept wondering, “why God, would you want to have anything to do with someone as weak as I?

“Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art”

In the middle of a song I looked out and saw a friend, who had just returned to town from her Mother’s passing.  I had wanted to have her over for dinner right after she arrived home, but the time had slipped away. Another song and another face, a man who had  said goodbye to his wife last Christmas, due to a sudden serious illness.  “I need you” my heart cried.  “We need you”.

“Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart”

In between services I spied a new friend and slid into the pew beside her.  I had remembered she had told me something in passing – months ago, and It kept ringing in my ears.  I sat down and cautiously asked if I could inquire about her health.  She graciously shared about her illness and the necessary medications required. She went on to tell me a bit about her family and where she came from.

“Thank you for coming Jesus” I whispered under my breath, for taking on human form and walking among us to feel our pain”.  For sacrificing your life  in order to release us from the icy grip of despair and death. You alone, are our strength, and hope!  As we celebrate your birth in a manger, and long for your return –  may You be our desire and our joy!

 

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

Lyrics from “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Text: Charles Wesley, Music: Rowland H. Prchard, Arranged by:  Robert Harkness

 

 

 

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I Am With You

Yellow Balloon I Am With You

Yellow Balloon
I Am With You

The yellow object caught her attention out of the corner of her weary eye.  End of day and one more job to do.  Lot check.  A few more moments and out into the twilight to make her last rounds.  “Check all the vehicles, every last one, make sure they’re locked” her mind repeated like a broken record.

Hand on the door, she turned instead and picked up her new friend.  She felt as though it had been calling to her.  “Take me with you”, it bubbled.  Left over from last week’s sale, still with well-worn string, she fastened it about her wrist and disappeared into the shivering darkness.

The ground crunched and the highway buzzed, and yet a holy silence pervaded.  She heard him whisper, “see this yellow balloon.”  She felt his presence. “I am right here with you, I am everywhere you are” he reminded.

She had just returned home and taken a job to save up to leave again.  Her year had been a whirl wind of mystery from the shores of Australia to the Philippines and India, to a snow laden camp in a northern forest, to a car lot in Alberta, and God was with her.

She needn’t worry or question, but rest in knowing that he would never leave her or forsake her.  She wondered why she had been privileged to be called in the first place, to see what she saw?  She grieved.  No matter how varied the cultures were – man was the same.  No matter the beliefs of man, someone could always make her feel small.

But he said, “be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deut. 31:6)

She paused and looked up at the night sky.  The yellow balloon, as if filled with his spirit gently swept her forehead.  She crunched towards the shop and pressed her face to an office window.  She smiled at her co-worker inside, and wondered if they recognized who she had with her?