-Pastor Holly Jo Engle-
“The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.”
There are many injustices in our present world. Countless people wake up to the cold wind because they slept in an alley last night. A father tries to scrounge up enough change to buy his daughter the new shoes she so desperately needs. A family of five waits in line at a soup kitchen. A woman tries to block out the racial slurs being hurled her way as she sits on the city bus. An elementary student savors the last bite of his Friday school lunch; because he knows there won’t be another meal until Monday. A newly-hired worker prays her car will start this morning.
All of these scenarios have something in common- hope. Each one of these people finds hope in a warm blanket, a sandwich, the next bus stop, or the turning over of an engine. The horrible circumstances we find ourselves in can only be eased by a feeling of hope for tomorrow-something to look forward to.
God spoke to Jeremiah and entrusted him with a prophesy that would rock the very foundation of our world. The words created an image of a liberator coming to rescue the people from the injustices they endured and bring about a hope that could not be shaken. “..a righteous branch from David’s line” proved there would be a savior, in human form, that would come to earth to set them free. The hope that was spoken here became a beacon of light that would lead those afflicted with pain and grief to a brighter tomorrow.
I am reminded of the hymn, “The Solid Rock”, by Edward Mote. The words so eloquently describe the “beacon” that saved humanity. “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” These words intensify the promise and the expectation that was fulfilled in Bethlehem.
We must remember to speak up for those who have no voice. Through Jesus, we can extend the hope we all received in that prophesy. We can prove to his people they are loved and deserve justice.
Holy Father, thank you for the hope we find in Jesus Christ. Help us to spread the hope by standing up for our fellow man. Amen.
Pastor Holly Jo Engle serves the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Blytheville, AR. Her mission has been providing a safe and nurturing environment for children and families to worship freely. She finds hope in the hymns and is heavily involved in choirs and musical ministries. Not only is she involved in religious education, but also in public education. Her public-school experience ranges from grades K-6 with a focus on curriculum and instruction. Her favorite verse is Psalm 47:1 because it is important that everyone find joy in their worship!