Sermon for Ecumenical Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014–“Calling the Children Home”

Isaiah 49:1-7

Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

"Listen to me, you islands . . . "  Isle of Man.  Reprinted by permission of a Creative Commons License.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Southwest_Isle_of_Man_-_Niarbyl_-_kingsley_-_23-JUN-09.jpg
“Listen to me, you islands . . . ” Isle of Man. Reprinted by permission of a Creative Commons License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Southwest_Isle_of_Man_-_Niarbyl_-_kingsley_-_23-JUN-09.jpg


2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
    and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
    and my reward is with my God.”

5 And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength—
6 he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

7 This is what the Lord says—
    the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
    to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and stand up,
    princes will see and bow down,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

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