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Sunday, Third Week of Epiphany January 24

Text: Isaiah 47:1-15




“Our Redeemer--the Lord Almighty is His name--

is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 47:4


It is noted by scholars that Isaiah 40-55 is something of a ‘second exodus.’ But it’s different here in Isaiah than the previous Exodus narrative. When the Israelites left Egypt they left in haste, through the wilderness, with just enough food and water provided daily by miracles. But in the exodus from Babylon, the Israelites will leisurely process through filled-in valleys and leveled mountains, and the earth will sing as they gleefully make their way from oppression to freedom.


A striking similarity between the Exodus and Isaiah narratives is the fate of the oppressor. God has it in for Babylon because not only does God show mercy on the oppressed, He shows fierce and burning justice to the oppressor. This is where the Good News is sticky. Who are the oppressed and the oppressor? Where is it that people are complicit in systems of injustice are where are they victims of injustice themselves? Enter St. Paul, who tells us that all of humanity is severely oppressed by the powers of sin and death, and that we are all under the authority of other-worldly powers that enslave all of creation. Paul’s understanding that all creation groans for redemption and is dead in trespasses and sins means there is a great need for very Good News.


The Biblical witness, not just Isaiah and Exodus, tells of a Redeemer. One who is stopping at nothing to hunt down the riotous, wasteful, prodigal children. When God sets out to redeem, He splits seas, levels mountains, rises from the dead, and sets the table where the wretched of the earth feast on Himself.


If you desire for God to find you, thanks be to God! Let it be a reminder that God is making your heart of stone into a heart of flesh. But if you do not desire God to find you, know this: God is searching for you and He is a relentless seeker. He is surely coming to redeem, the Holy One of Israel.

~ Chase Benefiel

Organist


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Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

824 N. Buchanan Blvd. 

Durham, NC 27701

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824 North Buchanan Blvd, Durham, NC 27701 | 919-682-6030  | www.gracelutheranchurch.net

Mission Statement: We are called to Welcome Everyone to Walk the Way of GRACE, and walk in that way in our individual lives, in our shared life in our various communities, in our common life with our neighbors, and even to the world at large as God sends us. The Way of Grace is to: GROW with Jesus, REJOICE in God, ANSWER with hope, CARE for the neighbor, and EMBRACE community.

Vision Statement: God has a plan FOR OUR LIVES, and so we teach how to walk in the path of Jesus Christ; FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, and so we work to build healthy and strong communities; FOR OUR CITY, and so we share life with our neighbors in Walltown, Trinity Park, Duke, and the Triangle; and FOR OUR WORLD, and so we go with Good News.

Core Values: Because God loves us first, we value worship rooted in Scripture and Sacraments, service to all people, and being a welcoming community that loves and forgives one another.