This is not the dawn I was hoping for. You know the kind of beach sunrise I want: golden rays illuminating cresting waves, with a few scattered clouds help catch the hues. But too many clouds, and… well, you have this.
But this is the sky the Lord has granted me this morning – when I’ve come to try to visualize one of Jesus’s prayers.
Jesus is interceding for us right now. So says Romans 8:34. Ever wonder what he’s praying? One can of course, learn much from his prayer in John 17. But did you know that as the Anointed One, Jesus also prays in Isaiah?
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation as a blazing torch. (62:1)
This is why I’m after a glorious dawn. Jesus prays that the righteousness of his people would be as luminous as a sunrise. He is committed to see this happen: both silent and quiet have a dual aspect of words and action. Because of his compassion for his people, he will both pray and work that we might be radiant.
But today, the clouds obscure that sunrise. I suppose that suits how I feel. As I look at the public image of the church in our country, it doesn’t dazzle. When I consider my own spiritual wattage, it feels more like a night-light than a brilliant sun. Clouds of distraction and inconsistency, of rule-keeping and finger-pointing block the rays. Just to name a few.
Jesus’s vision in Isaiah 62 is for the lives and presence of God’s people to be, literally, attractive: drawing the nations out of the darkness into the light
Sometimes it feels that we’re more interested in establishing our own kingdom here on earth. Erecting large churches. Forming our impenetrable circle of friends. Making war over trivialities. Keeping the culture at bay.
As I stand on the edge of the surf, the sand is as reflective as glass. The color of the sky is mirrored on the ground beneath me. That’s the secret – reflection. The light source has always been Christ’s righteousness, not our own. His right connection to the Father. His abiding love for the world.
We need more of Jesus. He is the light of the world (John 8:12). Through him, we are to be the light of the world, too. (Matt 5:14)
And Jesus passionately prays for us to be that.
Jesus, thank you for interceding for us. You love us so much you cannot keep silent before the Father. Transform us into the righteous dawn that you intend for us to be so that the nations might stream to you!
Reader: Where was the most glorious sunrise you’ve seen? I’d love to hear about it.