Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Prophet of Advent: 3rd Saturday-B

Read Isaiah 43:8-13

If you watch crime shows on television, you have seen episodes where the police are questioning witnesses to the crime, and everyone gives a different version of what happened. The testimony of the witnesses is so varied, that it is of little use to the authorities. And these witnesses are usually folks with good eyesight and hearing. Imagine what the police would have to deal with in trying to question witnesses who are sight or hearing impaired.

Isaiah tells us that it is precisely these people who are called into 'court' to give testimony about the One, True, and Holy God - Yahweh! Not those with PhD's sewn on their sleeves; not those who have years of experience in studying the Greek and Hebrew texts; not those who can quote Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Barth, and others without having to crack open a book.

No, it is the people we overlook; it is the least, the little, the lost, the last of the world; it is those that we call challenged, handicapped, disabled. They cannot see, so how could they tell us about a sunset? They cannot hear, so what do they know of angels' choruses? They cannot talk, so why should we bother?

Yet these are the ones God puts on the witness stand. These are the people God chooses to give testimony. These are the ones God decides are best able to tell of what God has been doing in the world.

It's the differently-gifted folks, Isaiah says, that best see what God has done. They are the ones who can point us to the wonders, the miracles, the salvation God is accomplishing in our midst. And I have one of those witnesses in my family, in Teddy, our mentally retarded and developmentally delayed son.

Teddy couldn't quote a Bible verse to you, but he knows without a doubt that God loves him. Teddy would think that John Calvin is the latest country singer on the radio. But when he comes forward to take communion, tears off a big chunk of bread, dunks it in the cup, pops it in his mouth, and grins, saying, "ummm, good!" he bears witness to each and every one of us.


Open our eyes to the ones who truly see you; open our ears to the ones who hear your whisper; open our hearts to the One who comes to fill us with all your gifts, that we might bear witness with joy, with hope, with grace. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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