At the Church of England we love proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. Here are four observations from Isaiah 40 that we think are as relevant today as when they were written 2700 years ago.
1. Comfort my people. Finnely Dunne (1867-1936) said that newspapers were supposed to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” We think a gospel centred sermon should do the same. In most churches, there are far more afflicted people than comfortable people, but when we preach Jesus, and him crucified, we believe we are preaching good news of great joy for all people.
2. Speak tenderly. Harsh words crush dreams and kill relationships. Tender words inspire dreams and restore relationships. Unfortunately there are not many places in society where tender words are being offered.
3. Warfare has ended. Shoichi Yokoi was a Japanese sergeant in WWII. On January 24, 1972 he was discovered in the jungles of Guam. He had been living in a cave, hiding from the Americans for twenty-eight years, because no one told him the war had ended. Many believers are living in spiritual caves, afraid to engage the world. Preachers are supposed to tell them that Jesus has already won the war!
4. Iniquity is pardoned. Paul never got tired of preaching the Gospel over and over and over and over. We hope to never tire of preaching and teaching what Jesus did for us, that because of his death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven. We preach it. Teach it. Sing it. Pray it. Then we do it again next week.
We hope to see you at church!