Third Week of Advent: Friday   7 comments

Above: The Earth in 1972, Courtesy of Apollo 17

The Universality of God

DECEMBER 22, 2023


Isaiah 56:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

These are the words of the LORD:

Maintain justice, and do what is right;

for my deliverance is close at hand,

and my victory will soon be revealed.

Happy is the person who follows these precepts

and holds fast to them,

who keeps the sabbath unprofaned,

who keeps his hand from all wrongdoing!

The foreigner who has given his allegiance to the LORD must not say,

The LORD will exclude me from his people.

The eunuch must not say,

I am naught but a barren tree.

These are the words of the LORD:

The eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,

who choose to do my will

and hold fast to my covenant,

will receive from me something better than sons and daughters,

a memorial and a name in my own house and within my walls;

I shall give them everlasting renown,

an imperishable name.

So too with the foreigners who give their allegiance to me,

to minister to me and love my name

and become my servants,

all who keep the sabbath unprofaned

and hold fast to my covenant:

these I shall bring to my holy hill

and give them joy in my house of prayer.

Their offerings and sacrifices

will be acceptable on my altar;

for my house will be called

a house of prayer for all nations.

This is the word of the Lord GOD,

who gathers those driven out of Israel:

I shall add to those who have already been gathered.

Psalm 67 (Revised English Bible):

May God be gracious to us and bless us,

may he cause his face to shine on us,

that your purpose may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, God;

let all peoples praise you.

Let nations rejoice and shout in triumph;

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations of the earth.

Let all the peoples praise you, God;

let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its harvest.

May God, our God, bless us.

God grant us his blessing,

that all the ends of the earth may fear him.

John 5:33-36 (Revised English Bible):

[Jesus said,]

You [certain Jews] sent messengers to John and he has testified to the truth.  Not that I rely on human testimony, but I remind you of it for your salvation.  John was a brightly burning lamp, and for a time you were ready to exult in his light.  But I rely on a testimony higher than John’s: the work my Father has given me to do and to finish, the very work I have in hand, testifies that the Father has sent me.

The Collect:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Peter began:  “I now understand how true it is that God has no favourites, but that in every nation those who are god-fearing and do what is right are acceptable to him.”–Acts 10:34-35 (Revised English Bible)

This quote from the Apostle Peter fits nicely with the designated readings for this day.  We read that God welcomes righteousness from anyone, not just members of a select population.  So the message of God is for all people, but not all accept it, of course.  Nevertheless, all whose lives reveal godliness are acceptable to God.  In God there are no outsiders.  To borrow a line from a hymn, “In Christ there is no east or west.”  In Christ there is no longer male or female, Jew or Gentile, domestic or foreign, citizen or alien, heterosexual or homosexual, “White” or African descent or First Nations, et cetera.

Yet we mortals insist on making such distinctions, often out of good intentions (yet sometimes out of prejudice).  Yet with God the standard is different:  it is active love of God, others, and self, manifested in one’s life.  And that rule excludes prejudices.


Written on June 2, 2010


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