Isaiah 61:1 - 62:3

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Advent 3B (2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    Not long ago people discovered a lengthy correspondence between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his fiancée, Maria von Wedmeyer. The Nazis had imprisoned him for plotting with members of the German resistance to assassinate Adolf Hitler. They executed Bonhoeffer just a few days before World War II’s end. Yet not long before that, on a day like that on which we proclaim and hear Isaiah 61, just twelve days before Christmas, the prisoner wrote his fiancé: “Dearest Maria, let us celebrate Christmas … Don’t entertain any awful imaginings of me in my cell, but remember that Christ, too, frequents prisons, and that he will not pass me by.”...
  • Christmas 1B (2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    In Isaiah 61:10 the prophet announces that God has “clothed” him in a distinct way. God has dressed him, he says, “with garments of salvation and arrayed” him “in a robe of righteousness.” In his book, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Vol. 1: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932, William Manchester notes that Victorian London’s “Gentlemen, no less than ladies, could be identified by their clothing. They wore top hats, indoors and out, except in homes or churches. Cuffs and collars were starched, cravats were affixed with jeweled pins, waistcoats were snowy white, wide tabular trousers swept the ground at the heel but rose in front over the instep, black frock coats were somber and exquisitely cut...
  • Born to Set Thy People Free

    by John Buchanan
    ("One of the great stories to come out of the Second World War was the rescue and liberation in January of 1945 of 513 American and Allied prisoners of war, survivors of the Bataan Death March held in a prison camp in the Philippines..." and other illustrations)
  • Taking Sides: Reversals

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("About the same time that Ambrose ministered in Italy, Saint Basil the Great served as Bishop of Caesarea in central Turkey. Like Ambrose he too spoke Marian truth to the powerful emperor Valens who tried to intimidate him...")
  • Advent 3B (2002)

    by Roger Haugen
  • Advent 3B (2008)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("I once read a poem written by a Korean girl. It is just one girl's words and yet, as Douglas John Hall has noted, these words could fit equally well on the lips of altogether too many people with whom we share this planet: My mother's name is Worry...")
  • When Life Tumbles In, What Then?

    by Rowland Croucher
    John Claypool, a brilliant Southern Baptist pastor and preacher who became an Episcopalian priest, preached four sermons from the Book of Job while his nine-year-old daughter, their only daughter, was dying of leukemia. In the final sermon he said: 'God reminded Job that the things he had become so indignant about losing actually did not belong to him in the first place. They were gifts - gifts beyond his deserving, graciously given him by Another... To be angry because a gift has been taken away is to miss the whole point of life. That we ever have the things we cherish is more than we deserve. Gratitude and humility rather than resentment should characterize our handling of the objects of life.' In Tracks of a Fellow Struggler he tells how he came to thank God for the *nine years!!!* he and his family had enjoyed the company of their gorgeous little girl, Laura Lue...
  • Christmas 1B (2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("If you are a devotee of J.R.R. Tolkien's books, then not only have you read these outstanding novels, you have likely seen the film versions of The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkien's fictional world of Middle Earth, there is a threat arising in the east as the dark Lord Sauron attempts to find the one ring of power....")
  • Wild Lectionary: Holy Land

    by Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson
    December 14, 2017 by RadicalDiscipleship Wild Lectionary: Holy Land Mt Erbal caves Mt Arbel Caves Advent 3B Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Luke 1:46b-55 By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson Just north of Magdala in Galilee stand the cave-pocked cliffs of Mt. Arbel. Twice in a hundred years, Roman soldiers shot fire into the caves to destroy Israelites who refused to give in to imperial rule. The first occasion was the imposition of Herod as king in 40 BCE, while the second was during the Roman-Jewish war of the mid-60s CE. We climb the startlingly rocky and steep path around the caves, marveling at both the modern, metal, hand-foot holds and cables that made our ascent possible, and the stubborn determination of both Romans and Israelites to accomplish their ends whatever the risk. The experience gave a profoundly new meaning to the Israelites’ hope for a Messiah, a God-anointed leader who would finally bring peace and freedom...
  • Proclaiming Liberty to the Captives: #Metoo

    by Janet Hunt
    won’t lie to you, I am tired. I am weary of hearing day after day about an other one falling. Men, mostly. Wealthy, powerful, influential men who somewhere along the way forgot what it is to be human among humans. Humane among others who are so very vulnerable. And no, it’s not the news of this alone that tires me, but the realization that what I have experienced in times and places and ways which never made headlines (#metoo / #churchtoo) was in no way exceptional. Not at all. And weary, yes, at the necessity to revisit in my own heart, my own visceral memory, what happened to me when I was young. For while it has been decades ago now, you who have been there know it never really leaves you...
  • Advent 3B (2008)

    by Kirk Kubicek
    ("A Sunday school teacher in Kansas reports this conversation in her class: 'If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?' she asked the children in her Sunday school class...")
  • Prepare in the Wilderness

    by Stephen Larson
    ("Back in the 1990s Mary Fisher learned that her husband had AIDS. She got tested and learned that she was HIV positive. Suddenly, she was plunged into a wilderness in which she described herself as 'a pilgrim on the road to AIDS'. She began to prepare their two young sons to become orphans. She spoke out, wrote and advocated for justice and mercy. In her book, I'll Not Go Quietly, she wrote about today's text from Isaiah...")
  • Vengeance and Integrity

    by David Martyn
    Christian Peacemaker Teams have been present in Iraq since October 2002. They work with detainees of both United States and Iraqi forces. They host regular delegations of committed peace and human rights activists to conflict zones, who join teams in working with civilians to document abuses and develop non-violent alternatives to armed conflict. James Loney, 41 years old, from Toronto, has been a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams since August 2000, and is currently the Program Coordinator for CPT Canada. On previous visits to Iraq, his work focused on taking testimonies from families of detainees for a report on detainee abuse, and making recommendations for securing basic legal rights. James was leading the November 2005 delegation in Iraq when he went missing—kidnapped by a group called ‘Sword of Righteousness’ along with Harmeet Singh Sooden, Tom Fox and Norman Kember. Two years ago James wrote this article. “My father is 70 years old. I am 39. I first told him in September [2003] that I was planning to go to Iraq with a group called Christian Peacemaker Teams to do human rights work. He said, “Well James, I’m not very excited about it,” and then, “I wish you’d think of your mother and I when you do these things.”...
  • Flinging Oranges

    by Jim McCrea
  • Future, No Future (Isaiah)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Caspar David Friedrich uses some of the same elements as Isaiah but tells a different story in his painting Abbey in the Oakwood. The painting, like many of Friedrich's, has humans and human-made elements in small proportion to the size of the painting. The majority of the canvas is filled with the vastness of nature.
  • Off the Top of Your Head (Isaiah)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Napoleon Bonaparte decided to give himself a crown. He had demanded the Pope attend the coronation ceremony as Emperor, but when the moment came to put the crown on his head, Napoleon took the crown from the Pope and placed it on his own head. The sketch here was drawn by Jacques Louis David, who attended the coronation and created finished paintings of other episodes of Napoleon's rise to Emperor...
  • When Life Tumbles In, What Then?

    by Nathan Nettleton
    John Claypool, a brilliant Southern Baptist pastor and preacher who became an Episcopalian priest, preached four sermons from the Book of Job while his nine-year-old daughter, their only daughter, was dying of leukemia. In the final sermon he said: ‘God reminded Job that the things he had become so indignant about losing actually did not belong to him in the first place. They were gifts – gifts beyond his deserving, graciously given him by Another… To be angry because a gift has been taken away is to miss the whole point of life. That we ever have the things we cherish is more than we deserve. Gratitude and humility rather than resentment should characterize our handling of the objects of life.’ In Tracks of a Fellow Struggler he tells how he came to thank God for the *nine years!!!* he and his family had enjoyed the company of their gorgeous little girl, Laura Lue...
  • Solid as Oak

    by John Pavelko
    He sat in the kitchen staring at a cup of coffee. He had spent the previous night in jail; arrested and imprisoned for going 25 in a 30 mph zone. A few minutes before someone called. They introduced their remarks with a racial slur and then said. "We are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren't out of this two in tree days, we're going to blow your brains out, and blow up your house. In the next room, Coretta was sleeping along with their newborn daughter, Yolanda. In his own words, the Rev. dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described that moment: And I sat at that table thinking about that little girl and thinking about the fact that she could be taken away from me any minute. And I started thinking about a dedicated, devoted and loyal wife, who was over there asleep.... And I got to the point that I couldn't take it anymore. I was weak...
  • Christmas 1B (2019)

    by Katie Savage
    Patricia Tull puts it this way: “what shimmers throughout these five verses is the unavoidable visibility, the unquenchable luminosity, of God's deeds and their results. They are as festive as celebrative clothing, designed to be admired by all. They are no longer seeds covered by earth, but have sprouted in God's garden for all nations to see. They shine like the dawn and blaze like a torch in a darkened room, visible across the world. This is no secret, but a redemption that will not be overlooked.”...
  • To Comfort All Who Mourn

    by Beth Scibienski
  • Watch and Wait With Hope

    by Joyce Sluss
    At my son’s birth a very conscientious pediatrician took the time and patience to really LOOK into my infant’s eyes. It’s very hard to look deep into the eyes of a crying newborn with an ophthalmoscope in order to see back beyond the lens. When an infant cries they instinctively squeeze their eyes shut very tight...

Other Resources from 2020

  • Life in the Ruins

    by Mary Austin
  • Eyes on the Lowly

    by Lee Carter
  • Christmas 1B (2020)

    by Michael Chan
  • Exegesis (Isaiah 61:1-4, 8 - 62:3)

    by Richard Niell Donovan
  • O Holy Night (Placide Cappeau)(Isaiah)

    Poem by John Sullivan Dwight
  • Begin the Beginning

    by Jim Eaton
    Dave, age 16, acting out his frustrations, broke a window of a car a few blocks from his home. He didn’t know Mrs. Weber, the elderly owner, and she had not known any teenagers personally for years. So after years of absorbing society’s negative stereotypes about teenagers, this experience made her acutely fearful. The typical criminal justice system would have punished Dave and ignored Mrs. Weber. Instead, a restorative justice program enabled the parties to meet with a mediator and address the problem constructively. Their meeting helped Dave recognize for the first time that he had financially and emotionally hurt a real, live human being, and so he sincerely apologized. In turn, Mrs. Weber, whose fears had escalated and generalized to an entire generation, was able to gain a realistic perspective and feel compassion for this one individual. They agreed that Dave would compensate her loss by mowing her lawn weekly until September and performing a few heavy yard chores. Each day while Dave worked, Mrs. Weber baked cookies which they shared when he finished. They actually came to appreciate each other...
  • New Leadership

    by John Holbert
  • Spirit of the Lord Upon Me

    Podcast with Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker
  • Advent Hopes

    by Beth Johnston
  • Reaffirm, Redeem, Rename

    by Cheryl Lindsay
  • Refocus, Restore, Rejoice

    by Cheryl Lindsay
  • Sermon Starters (Advent 3B)(2020)

    by Stan Mast
    Actual pictures (or your own verbal pictures) of the fire ravaged towns on the West Coast and the hurricane blasted areas of the Gulf Coast and the riot ruined cities all over the US and the COVID induced chaos in emergency rooms and classrooms—such scenes of devastation will put your congregants in touch with “those who grieve in Zion… with a spirit of despair (verse 3).” Pair these with first responders moving through the smoke and sorrow to offer help that is heroic, but never enough. In Advent we await the coming of One who will bring help that is more than enough.
  • Sermon Starters (Christmas 1B)(2020)

    by Stan Mast
    As I write this piece, I just finished performing a wedding for a young couple I have known for a long time. It was a festive celebration of their long-nurtured love and their solemn vows to stay faithful even if the love grows cold. They were filled with joy, but they both knew very well that this one event was not the end of their work. In a pre-marriage counselling session, I asked them what they expected their marriage to be like. She answered, “a struggle, hard work, but well worth it.” That’s realistic. They are already married, but they have a long way to go to full marital maturity. They are already together, but not yet one flesh in the fullest sense. A wedding does not a marriage make. Incarnation alone does not accomplish salvation. There’s atonement through death and resurrection. And restoration through Word and Spirit in the church. And consummation when the Incarnate, crucified and risen Christ completes his work in the world.
  • The Spirit of the Lord Is Upon Me

    Podcast with Robb McCoy and Eric Fistler
  • Jubilee and Justice

    by Gregory Rawn
  • Advent 3B (2020)

    by Beth Schlegel
  • The Spirit of the Lord Is Upon Me

    by Casey Thornburgh Sigmon
  • Echoes of Hope

    by Jay Sunberg
  • Echoing Mary’s “Yes”

    by Leah Lyman Waldron
  • Advent 3B

    by Howard Wallace et al

Other Resources from 2016 to 2019

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Other Resources from 2011 to 2015

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Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources and Dramas

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