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December 11

Isaiah 56, 3-5, 7-8

Something to read

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, 
‘The Lord will surely separate me from his people’;
and do not let the eunuch say, 
‘I am just a dry tree.’
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, 
who choose the things that please me 
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls, 
a monument and a name 
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name 
that shall not be cut off.

for my house shall be called a house of prayer 
for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God, 
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them 
besides those already gathered.
New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

It's that time of year when Bing Crosby jingles our ears as we march through the shopping centres, gathering our goods for Christmas dinners and time with friends and families.

Those times with loved ones we look upon in candlelit tones of warmth and love, but they stand in stark contrast to the time we spend with strangers in the cold fluorescent venues where public life occurs.

Yet it is these complete strangers to whom God is welcoming inside God's house of prayer for all peoples. No one is excluded, no one is pushed away from the candlelit memories we enjoy, for we are reminded that we are all God's children, and our names are written eternally on the walls of God's eternal home.

Something to do

As you move through the forums where we live our common life, set not your mind on a singularity of purpose. Instead, look into the eyes of a complete stranger and offer to them a smile that comes from the warmth of your very own heart.

Just talk to the person next to you in the queue. Let everyone you come into contact with know – even if briefly! - as they move through this world just how much we hold in common and how each person is valued by God and you. This is, we have read, how God sees each and every person.

Something to pray

God, may my ears and eyes be opened to all people in my community. All of them you have invited into your house of prayer, and not just I. Thank you for such generosity of spirit, that we may all join around your table, gathered together in friendship and love, which finds its source in your ever-speaking, generous Word. Amen.

Ryan Sirmons is a minister in the United Church of Christ (USA) who trained at Westminster College, Cambridge. 

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