"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me [and] has sent me to bring good news…" - Isaiah 61:1-7
At a recent girls' basketball game, the home team was down by quite a bit and their frustration was rising. The visiting defense had stymied their game: each time they brought the ball down court they could do little more than pass it around the top of the key. Then, without warning, one of the girls dropped her shoulder and drove the ball right to the hoop, circumstances be damned. Lo and behold, she both scored and drew two added foul shots. The crowd went nuts, and in that one moment the whole game turned around.
The Israelites had begun to wonder if they had been doomed to yet another losing season. After all, who were they to be "priests of the Lord" now that they were just a banged-up holdout from the past without a functioning Temple and while foreigners were still tilling their land? Isaiah egged them on with this simple challenge: who were they not to be? The Spirit had anointed them to be a servant nation: to bring good news to others, circumstances be damned.
God has always dispatched prophets to bring good news before the coast is clear. We ourselves might be inclined to put off our own prophetic witness until the defense has turned sloppy. But Isaiah has a different idea: don't wait to see the evidence that God's good news is coming. Be the evidence that God's good news is already here! It can turn the whole game around.
Lord, grant me the courage to bring a little bit of your good news into the world today, whatever the circumstances may be. Amen.
Jared A. Rardin is Senior Pastor of South Congregational Church, UCC in Concord, New Hampshire.