Reflections: Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

The first lesson this Sunday is from Isaiah 40, one of the most powerful portions of Scripture. It contains this:


21Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; 23who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing…




27Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.




I am not smart enough to be able to prove the existence of God. But I am smart enough not to be convinced by any of the attempts to disprove it.


And I am doubly convinced that those who are convinced of their power to disprove God are laboring under the weight of  inflated egos.


Like many people of faith I have come to where I am by virtue of having been shaped in my perceptions and imagination by experiences of transcendence which wrap themselves so completely and deeply in self and universe that I can neither ignore nor explain them.


God’s identity and power are everywhere and yet they defy containment or definition.


It humbles me.


It overawes me.


It leads me on to tomorrow.


It shames me.


It convicts me.


It holds and heals me.


It never decays or diminishes.


And to those who do not believe in God, I am compelled to say, “Never mind that–God believes in you, and that makes all the difference.”






About John

John is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served congregations for over 40 years, including in rural, suburban, campus ministry and urban settings. His love of Border Collie sheepdogs has been fortified by his many friendships with shepherds all around the world. Nothing he has ever or will ever accomplish is as significant as the patience God, his wife and his friends have shown in putting up with his deficiencies.
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