But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

We are moving out from Christmastide and into the life of Jesus – as an adult for the most part. There is the day of Epiphany when we look back briefly; and that will come later this week. Right now we are approaching the Jordan River and John the Baptist that we have already heard about. The Old Testament for this week alludes to what will take place in the Gospel passage.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.” (Verses 2 – 3)

It also comforts us that we are not alone and are under the Lord’s care. Even during the intensity of Christmas, I sensed the Lord’s presence. The Divine carried me through.

“Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth– everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Verses 4 – 7)

The prophet Isaiah/writer of the book of Isaiah seeks to reassure his reader that all will be well. The people referred to in his passage do sound like they need help – scattered to the north and the south, and the east and the west. I did not have this degree of problems, feeling scattered that is. And if the Divine can and will undertake for them, surely the Divine will undertake for me. Of course, this promise came a considerable time in the future. And that might give me pause; but I know that since Jesus the Christ came into the world, the promises of the Divine are carried out more immediately than in times past. The Holy Presence is with us in a more substantial way. We can see the movement of the Lord. And we can feel in our spirit the reassurance talked about here.

It occurs to me, beloved reader, that there may have been many people living in Old Testament times who did feel the closeness of the Lord God. Just because they do not appear in the biblical canon, does not mean they did not exist. We may not have their testimony in front of us, but our relationship to the Divine testifies to the care and compassion that is available to us.

May you, beloved reader, feel the Holy Presence and Promise of the Divine, no matter the season! Shalom & Selah!