Christianity 201

October 2, 2022

Everyone is Welcome: A House of Praise for All

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’m hoping today’s devotional will ‘work’ for you. Allow me to make that more personal.

This is a case where a worship song lyric that I’d known for many years was really sparked to life by a video of a person reading a scripture passage as part of it. But for me, the scripture passage is really sparked to life knowing the song. The one truly illuminates the other.

In a print copy I had of the song lyrics was written “Isaiah 56:1-8.” How much do we lose by not digging into the scripture notations on song lyrics? Or greeting cards? Or printed sermon notes?

► You can pause here and listen to the only online recording I could find of the song, located at the bottom of today’s devotional.

Here’s the song lyrics by Chad Sundin:

Let not the foreigner who lives for me say, “I am not welcome.”
There is a place for all who choose what’s pleasing to the Holy One.
Even to the outcast I will give an everlasting name.

You are welcome
My house will be a house of prayer for all
All of the nations
My house will be a house of prayer for all

And so,  you foreigners who bind yourselves to serve the Lord, give thanks.
There’s a memorial reserved for you within my temple gates.
I will bring you to me where I am, my holy mountain.

And now the righteousness of God will shine where it has not been known.
When you have hands for justice, not for evil, my salvation’s close.
Blessed are the ones who do my work, from any tribe or tongue.

The scripture passage referenced is the opening 8 verses of Isaiah 56:

NIV.Is.56.1
This is what the Lord says:
“Maintain justice
and do what is right,
for my salvation is close at hand
and my righteousness will soon be revealed.

2 Blessed is the one who does this—
the person who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,
and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”

3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say,
“The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.”
And let no eunuch complain,
“I am only a dry tree.”

4 For this is what the Lord says:

“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose what pleases me
and hold fast to my covenant—

5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls
a memorial and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that will endure forever.

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant—

7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.”

8 The Sovereign Lord declares—
he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather still others to them
besides those already gathered.”

The passage anticipates a day when there will be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.

NLT.Gal.3.28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

I couldn’t help but think of Luke 9:

49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

In another well known text, after driving the currency traders out of the temple Jesus says,

NIV.Mk.11.17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

The polarity of the present age pushes many to want to be about exclusion when the message of the Gospel is all about inclusion.

Everyone is welcome at the house of God.

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