Day 1 of 7

Wholism


Isaiah 61:1-11

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the Lord

for the display of his splendor.

4They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

that have been devastated for generations.

5Strangers will shepherd your flocks;

foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

6And you will be called priests of the Lord,

you will be named ministers of our God.

You will feed on the wealth of nations,

and in their riches you will boast.

7Instead of your shame

you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace

you will rejoice in your inheritance.

And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,

and everlasting joy will be yours.

8“For I, the Lord, love justice;

I hate robbery and wrongdoing.

In my faithfulness I will reward my people

and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9Their descendants will be known among the nations

and their offspring among the peoples.

All who see them will acknowledge

that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10I delight greatly in the Lord;

my soul rejoices in my God.

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation

and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,

and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11For as the soil makes the sprout come up

and a garden causes seeds to grow,

so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness

and praise spring up before all nations.

Pray:

God, fortify our trust in you, so that we faithfully endure the trials and tribulations that will surely come. Expand our understanding of your call to discipleship, so that we understand the holistic nature of Scripture’s call to discipleship.

Reflect:

The year of the Lord’s favor (verse 2) foretells of God’s plan to restore all things. Biblical Scholar William VanGermeren writes: “This restoration includes the promises of forgiveness and full fellowship with God, and the removal of physical problems, obstacles, and mourning. It is the year of Jubilee, the year of liberation (Lev. 25:10). Jesus applied this word to his healing of the blind, deaf, and lame as a token that God is concerned about our whole being, including our physical welfare.”

When we follow Jesus’s example, we are called oaks of righteousness. Biblically, righteousness describes people who live uprightly and behave justly before God and neighbor. Righteous people treat everyone—whether rich, poor, or undocumented—with justice, generosity, and equity. Righteousness is not only characterized by what we do, but also by the omission of actions which cause damage to our neighbors. This is why we liturgically pray for God’s forgiveness, for both the things we have done, and the things we have left undone. Inaction, silence, and indifference are also relational failures; they breed injustice, oppression, and death. God finds these lukewarm responses repulsive.

Theologian Christopher Marshall expounds on Scripture’s call to righteousness. He writes: “The biblical notion of righteousness refers broadly to doing, being, declaring, or bringing about what is right. Righteousness is a comprehensively relational reality. It is not a private moral attribute one has on one’s own. It is something that inheres in our relationships as social beings. To be righteous is to be true to the demands of a relationship, whether that relationship is with God or with other persons.” When we faithfully engage in holistic ministry the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations (verse 11).

Respond:

What hinders us from engaging in holistic ministry? What happens when we do not engage in holistic ministry? How do we ensure that our ministry is concerned about a person’s mind, body, and soul?