Isaiah 43:1-7b (NRSV)
Chapter 43But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Verse 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Verse 3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Verse 4Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Verse 5Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; Verse 6I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth- Verse 7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
Hymn Reflection: ELW 332
When you hear the words, “Where everybody knows your name,” what comes to mind? “Cheers,” right? Cheers, where no matter who someone was, where they came from, or what their background, they were welcome without fear of exclusion. Isaiah reminds us that there is someone who knows our name and everything about us and embraces us with the words, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.” Cheers may be a fictional place with fictional people but the kingdom of God and our Savior is not and we can indeed dwell there without fear. God knows our name and makes a trustworthy promise to us that we have a place and are welcome. And while we live here, we can do the same, welcome all and let them know God loves them and knows their names and be without fear.
Loving Savior, you know my name. When I fear the unknown and lack the faith to step out of my comfort zone, help me to trust in your promises that you are with me; you know my name and I have no need to fear. Help me to share words of peace and comfort with those I meet today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.