Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
This week during our Advent journey toward mental wellness, we shift away from Psalms to explore a prophetic text. Like our other readings in this series, Isaiah 61 references Israel’s experience of exile, specifically the Babylonian exile that was also referenced last week in Psalm 126. This text also carries a special significance for Advent because of Jesus’ reading of this text in Luke 4 that, in essence, announced his mission of salvation to his hometown. So, as we sit with this text, we hear not only the prophet’s divine call to enact God’s salvation in the neighborhood but also Jesus’ mission announced in his own neighborhood centuries later, as well as the mission we are called to enact today as Jesus’ followers. At the same time, Isaiah 61 presents us with a profound perspective on the impact our relationships with one another have for our individual and communal mental wellness. So, as we’ve learned to honor our own emotions and compassionately listen to the emotions and stories of others, today we explore how the community we seek to build can enact hope together so that every person can live into mental wellness.