C of E logo


Discovering God's Kingdom – Growing the Church

Thursday 19 March

Today we celebrate and particularly remember Joseph of Nazareth and our readings and prayers reflect this and speak of how great is our Lord and mighty in power – but above all, the readings remind us that no matter how dark the situation seems to be, there is hope and light.  The readings for today are:

Psalm 25 and Psalm 147: 1-12
Isaiah 11: 1-10
Matthew 13: 54 – 58

Two readings in particular spoke to me this morning – the first is Isaiah 11: 1-10 and the second is a Canticle  - Isaiah 9: 2, 3B, 4a, 6, 7

Isaiah 11: 1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
   and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
   the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
   the spirit of counsel and might,
   the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
   or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
   and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
   and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
   and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
   the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
   and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
   their young shall lie down together;
   and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
   and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
   on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
   as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

As I was reading this passage I couldn’t help but be reminded of the recent devastating fires in Australia.  Everything burnt and seemingly destroyed – so much pain and devastation.  Yet, within a very short time, green shoots were indeed growing up through the blackened embers – new life – new hope – signs of life and growth – and our readings reflect this today.

Isaiah 9: 2, 3b, 4a, 6, 8

To us a child is born, to us a son is given

The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
   on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
   you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
   as with joy at the harvest,
   as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
   and the bar across their shoulders,
   the rod of their oppressor,
   you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For a child has been born for us,
   a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
   and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
For a child has been born for us,
   a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
   and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.  No matter what befalls us or wherever we are these words are there to remind us that our all loving God has indeed given us a Wonderful Counsellor, Might God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  When all else fails, please hold onto that and remember that God is always with us.  There is a poem  - Footprints in the sand - that reminds us that when we think we are alone, that is the time when God is carrying us.


One night I dreamed I was walking
Along the beach with the Lord,
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.
Other times there was only one.
This bothered me because I noticed
During the low periods of my life when I was
Suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord, “You promised me,
Lord, that if I followed you,
You would walk with me always.
But I noticed during the most trying periods
Of my life there has only been
One set of prints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
Have you not been there for me?
The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints
It was then that I carried you.”