Advent: Speak Tenderly: Isaiah 40:1-11

Isaiah 40:1-11

1   Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
2   Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord”s hand
double for all her sins.

3   A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4   Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5   Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

6   A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7   The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.

8   The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9   Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10  See, the Lord GOD comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11  He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • What is withering and fading in you as you wait this advent season?
  • Is this your desire?
  • Is this God’s desire for you?
  • What word of God stands with might for you today?
  • Do you notice any comfort in this word?
  • Savor the comfort.
  • What hope do you see?
  • Embrace this hope.
  • Allow God to embrace you as you hold on to the hope.
  • As you leave God’s arms, hold this hope lightly.
  • Share this hope with someone today.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in hope and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 6, 2020, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

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