This Sunday, we are featuring a blog written by Reverend David Wright, Executive Director of BMA TenPoint and former UniteBoston Board President. Read below to hear Rev. David’s word about God’s abiding presence, an encouragement for Christians in Boston in this new year.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.“
– Isaiah 7:14
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
– Matthew 1:23
When Judah was on the verge of destruction by its enemies God, through the prophet Isaiah, told King Ahaz to ask for a sign that the catastrophe would not happen. King Ahaz refused God’s offer, so Isaiah provided one anyway. Isaiah tells Ahaz –and us– that a virgin will give birth to a Child and His Name will be Immanuel.
As Israel is suffering under the oppression of the Roman Empire, Matthew reminds us of this sign. “God with us;” what an unimaginable prospect! The God Who is so holy, that people couldn’t approach the mountain on which He appeared for fear of death; the Creator of the Universe whose throne was Heaven and who rested His feet on the earth; the God who parted the Red Sea and allowed Israel to walk through on dry land; this same God is “with us!”
John picks up this theme in his Gospel and tells us, in so many words, that God took on flesh and lived among us. In the person of the Son, Jesus Christ, God walked with, talked with, and deeply engaged with us on a personal level. And this all starts with the virgin giving birth to Jesus; it all starts with Christmas.
While all of this is Good News, to be sure, the Greater News is that He is still with us! The Presence of God, through His Holy Spirit, now abides within and among us. No matter if we face the destruction that Israel faced during the time of Ahaz, or the oppression Israel faced in the days of Matthew, God is with us!
None of us have survived the Pandemic years unscathed. The pains and losses we have suffered –individually and collectively—are real. But the promise of God remains sure. He is with us. He has never left us, He has never forsaken us, and He never will! That is the promise of God. That is the beginning of Epiphany.
Whatever you are facing at this moment, whether good or bad, difficult or easy, remember that God is still with us. And no matter what we face, we can be of good courage because the One who is with us has overcome this world!