In the final chapters of Isaiah, the prophet offers hope to the people of God. He shows them that the light they seek and long for is coming. They do not have to go on living in darkness and fear. But in order to see the light, they need to recognize the darkness of sin within themselves.
This Advent season we will be consider these words from Isaiah, beginning with Isaiah 59. We will use these words to look within ourselves to recognize the darkness, and we will seek to understand, through the words of Isaiah, the Light of the World.
We recommend that you use a journal or notebook to write down the various parts of the exercises. You are encouraged to record your thoughts, the reflections you have, the questions that arise, and the way in which God speaks to you through these scriptures. Please share any insights that you think might be helpful to others.
Isaiah 59 — Lectio Divina (lectio in groups)
Lectio: Read Isaiah 59 through once to get a feel for the text.
As you read the text again, focus on the following:
- Verses 1-2: Write down the statement of the problem.
- Verses 3-8: List the ways in which sin affects our lives, noting the way that it seems to permeate us and our human systems.
- Verses 9-11: Rewrite a summary statement of the problem using the images of darkness and light.
- Verses 12-15a: Consider — how do we need to recognize our sin?
- Verses 15b-21: List the specific ways in which God responds to this problem.
Meditatio: Meditate on verses 1-15a, reading them again, focusing on the words or phrases that speak to you. What darkness do these words address in your own life?
Oratio: Recognize your part in the problem, and talk to God about the specific ways in which you have recognized sin in your life. Name the darkness in your life, knowing that God hears and responds to an open heart.
Contemplatio: Read verses 15b-21 again. Focus on the words or phrases that speak to you. Give thanks for God’s assurance of salvation, and the light that he brings into your world. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with joy and hope in the knowledge that God is able to transform even the darkness of night into the brightness of day.