Scripture reading for Sept. 11, 2011

Isaiah 58:9b-12
If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. ________________________________________________

This passage from Isaiah 58 follows a more familiar section that we have quoted many times at Plymouth. To get the flow of the passage, I suggest reading the entire chapter. In it, God (speaking through Isaiah) claims that the most meaningful worship doesn’t consist of fasting and ceremony but rather of caring for the poor. In the portion we will read this week, the focus is on the renewal of Israel. If the people will stop pointing the finger and speaking evil, God promises that their “light shall rise.” “Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt,” the people are told.

This passage seems particularly poignant for September 11, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on America.  

  • Where, in our culture today, do we find “the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil?” In what ways are we and our progressive tradition implicated in this?  
  • What is it that keeps our (your) true light from shining? What would it look like if that light became more evident in the world?
  • Who, today, are the true “repairers of the breach?” What is the breach that needs to be repaired?  


James Gertmenian
Senior Minister



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Plymouth Congregational Church is a progressive faith community grounded in the Christian tradition. We are spiritual, loving, relevant and transforming.
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One Response to Scripture reading for Sept. 11, 2011

  1. Paul Price says:

    These are difficult and not simply defined issues, after all we are dealing with our human cohort. As an individual, I know I can become so self-righteous that the subjects of my self-righteaosness begin to fade into caricature. I see this in myself and it feels “evil.” As a member of a group, the “progressive tradition,” I can see this within ” my group.” At the same time, I have to agree with Walter Rauschenbusch, a key figure in our progressive tradition, that there can be an identifiable “Kingdom of Evil,” which he readily named in a way that included much of the developing economic and social norms around him. He did not fseem to forget his own imperfection, however. When I read about Christian Dominionists and the New Apostolic Reformation; and how they are simmering into many right-wing political corners and define me as a gay man (let alone Rushdoony and his prescriptions for my kind), “they” are not to be considered naively. But I must always remember my own bad decison making when fueled by fear and ungoverned righteousnes.

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