Summary: It is a textual sermon for I only use the one biblical text I supplied to the congregation.
HOLD UP THE LIGHT-ISAIAH 49:3-6
I remember some three years ago I visited a nursing home with my mentor, Melvin Black. I was captivated by the singing, moving, and ongoings of the patients there but I took great interest in an African American man pushing himself in a wheelchair. After the worship service I held a conversation with him. The man said that he was the former pastor of a popular Baptist church in Atlanta. He said that he thought Daddy King from Ebenezer Baptist Church and William Holmes Borders from Wheat Street Baptist Church. He said that he was moderator of the Atlanta Baptist Association for 30 years. He said that he had four able-bodied children all living in metropolitan Atlanta. Then his mood changed. In spite of all his accolades and accomplishments, he said nobody ever came to visit him. He complained about being elderly. He complained about being confined to a wheelchair. He complained about having glaucoma. He complained about nobody ever visiting him. Then he asked me questions, “Where is God in my situation?” “God why don’t you answer my cries.” I had no answer for him. Upon my leaving the nursing home he rolled his wheelchair near me, smiled and said, “You were my little god today.” I left the nursing home in tears.
“Where is God in my situation?” “Does God even care about me?” “Give me proof God loves me.” Those are the questions and statements spoken by the Hebrew people in our Old Testament lesson. They cried, “Where is God for we have fallen in trouble?” They cried, “Where is the goodness of God?” In the backdrop of this text the Hebrew people were ruled by an oppressive Assyrian government in the North and an oppressive Babylonian government in the South. These people lost their homes. These people lost their jobs. These people lost control of their capital city, Jerusalem and their nation got divided into two kingdoms. Folks were living far from the coastlands far away from the big cities. God I/we need help!!! Help! Help! Help!
We, people today are just like the Israelite nation, we need help. We need help because we live in a world, that glorifies sex and violence but at the same time preaches do not have premarital and extramarital sex and do not fight. We need help because we live in a world that glorifies the use of drugs and alcohol but at the same time says don’t drive drunk and the Surgeon General says this may be hazardous to your health. We are crying because we live in a world where home and school are supposed to be the best institutions existing but they often exist as the most hellish places in the community. Where is the God-based sense of morality when the “moral” leaders say do not do this and do not do that but they do exactly what is portrayed in “worldly” rap, rock, country, and pop videos? I say to you tis afternoon like it was in BeBe and CeCe Winans and Whitney Houston’s song say to Hold Up the Light…HOLD UP THE LIGHT!!
Some six hundred years before the birth of Jesus the Christ, the prophet Isaiah proclaim a second Servant Song. The song is not a popular song but it is a song needed to be heard. It is a song that lets the Hebrew people know who they are, whose they are, and what their mission/purpose is. The song stood as a beacon of hope and restoration for not only the Israelite nation but also a beacon for the whole world.
We today do not exist as living exceptions to the song. You might not like the song. You might not feel comfortable with the song but all the words of the song are true. YOU ARE SOMEBODY. YOU ARE GOD’S CREATION EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE MADE MISTAKES YOU ARE NOT ALIVING MISTAKE. GOD WANTS TO USE YOUR LIFE AS AN INSTRUMENT OF SERVICE AND HELPWORK SO THAT GOD’S WORK GETS DONE IN THIS WORLD. YOU MUST HELP THE HELPLESS, YOU MUST TOUCH THE UNTOUCHED, YOU MUST TOUCH THE UNTOUCHED, YOU MUST HOME THE HOMELESS, YOU MUST ENRICH THE POOR, AND YOU MUST GIVE LIFE TO THE LIFELESS. Doing the above is what justice and peace—SERVANTHOOD is all about dear family. However troublesome and tough times do exist in life and we go through them to get to the good times.
Isaiah lived through some tough times. He struggled with trying to remain positive when it seemed all hell was breaking loose. He struggled with trying to please the crowd or please God. He struggled with thoughts of failure because he thought that he and his works were not good enough to please God and heal the Hebrew nation. He felt defeat was nearby.