Scott Sanders launches our Advent series by getting lost in the bush and finding the humble path - at expense of his pride.
Rev Charissa Suli is a second-generation Tongan Australian Minister of the Word, ordained in 2014 to serve in Dapto Uniting Church. She is now serving the Uniting Church in the role of National Consultant in the Assembly’s new multidisciplinary team, the Assembly Resourcing Unit.
Today's reading is Isaiah 42:10-18
We are in the season where every shop you walk into is playing Christmas carols from Michael Bublé, Frank Sinatra and the 90’s hits of Mariah Carey that never seem to get old. It doesn’t matter how hard a musician or a celebrity will change the style, tempo or genre of the traditional Christmas songs, I always find it hard to appreciate the new style or rhythm compared to the original style of the song.
Often it can be difficult to learn a new song or enjoy the fresh perspectives new songs bring us.
In today’s passage, the prophet Isaiah is calling upon all people to “Sing to the Lord a new song.” Let us sing out loud the praise and thanksgiving for God’s gifts to us. Let us sing out loud so all can hear God’s Word. Isaiah is calling everyone who has been touched by the work of the servant to offer their praise and sing a new song.
I recognise that it can be difficult to sing a new song when we see so much injustice in our nation, particularly towards our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples or refugees seeking asylum, or the violence against women and their children just to name a few. It is even more overwhelming when we are faced with our own fears, doubts, losses, and challenges of life. Why would I want to sing a new song when there is much hopelessness, brokenness, and injustice in the world?
We can sing a new song now because God promises to send his Messiah who will make all the wrongs right and turn darkness into light. God is sending us our hope, although the world continues to face brokenness. We can have courage and not be afraid or live in fear!
Isaiah reminds us that God is still ever more present in our lives than he was before. God is guiding us on unknown paths, bringing light into darkness, and turning rocky patches into smooth roads—and WE are the servants who are called to fulfil the mission of God. We are the ones who have been given the privilege and responsibility of singing a new song that looks forward to the great reversal; a song that sings of peace not war, of love not hate, of welcome not rejection, of comfort not suffering, and of hope not despair.
I leave you with my new song in hope as I call on you to pray today for those who are seeking a place to call home in Australia.
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A Hymn of Praise
10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
11 Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord goes forth like a soldier,
like a warrior he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
14 For a long time I have held my peace,
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor,
I will gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind
by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them.
17 They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame—
those who trust in carved images,
who say to cast images,
“You are our gods.”
18 Listen, you that are deaf;
and you that are blind, look up and see!