Archive for the ‘compassion’ Tag

Tuesday 6 December 2011 – “The one and the many”   Leave a comment

Images of sheep

The Old Testament reading today, Isaiah 40: 1-11, includes and extends the reading from Sunday. So, again I have its setting from Handel’s Messiah running through my head.  The New Testament reading is from Matthew 18: 12-14.  The last part of the passage from Isaiah and the Matthew passage both contain images of sheep.  To me they both speak of the tender kindness of God.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
[Isaiah 40:11 NIV]

Then the story from Matthew is the one of the lost sheep, and the shepherd leaving the other 99 to search for the lost one; and rejoicing when he finds it.

This has brought to mind a part of the liturgy I know so well from monastic retreat.  I expect it is said or sang as part of morning prayer in monasteries (of many different orders) and churches all over the world.

Canticle:  “The Song of Zechariah”   Benedictus Dominus Deus    Luke 1: 68-79

“In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

That phrase “the tender compassion of our God” always stands out for me.  It is that tender compassion that is pictured in the Isaiah passage: “…  he gently leads those that have young” and is encapsulated in the looking for the lost sheep described in Matthew.

  • May we all know God’s compassion and through it find the way of peace, Amen

[Apologies  for only a short post today. I was up very early working. However perhaps it is a case of more said with fewer words.]

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Posted December 6, 2011 by Martyn Cooper in Advent 2011 Reflections

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