Br. Curtis Almquist
Isaiah 42:1-9
Matthew 3:13-17

The first lesson appointed for today, the reading we heard from the Prophecy of Isaiah, begins with the words: “Here is my servant; …I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”[i] Now this reading is like a supernatural transcription of what the prophet Isaiah heard from God: God’s spirit being promised to the long-awaited Messiah, and also, God’s spirit reaching to foreign nations and distant lands, to the gôyîm, the non-Jews: people like many of us. How will we know God’s presence and God’s power? What will be the evidence of God’s spirit at work, the outward sign, the fruit of God’s spirit? Justice. Justice to the nations. What will be the preeminent work and witness of the Messiah? Justice.[ii]

In the scriptures, justice is broader than what is dictated by law or custom. The biblical understanding of justice is that everyone is given their due, especially the poor and the weak. The Prophet Isaiah continues, “abruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench,” which shows a kind, gentle, dignified respect for others, especially the weak.[iii] The Prophet Isaiah closes with the words: “[The Messiah and we, the Messiah’s followers] will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth…” The Messiah’s mission begins and ends with justice. The biblical understanding of justice is that everyone is given their due. Justice! Read More

Br. Curtis Almquist

Isaiah 42:1-9
Matthew 3:13-17

The first lesson appointed for today, the reading we heard from the Prophecy of Isaiah, begins with the words: “Here is my servant; …I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”[i]  Now this reading is like a supernatural transcription of what the prophet Isaiah heard from God: God’s spirit being promised to the long-awaited Messiah, and also, God’s spirit reaching to foreign nations and distant lands, to the gôyîm, the non-Jews, people like many of us.  How will we know?  What will be the evidence of God’s spirit at work?  What will be the outward sign, the fruit of God’s spirit among us?  Justice.  Justice to the nations.  These opening words of Isaiah, God’s prophet, about the forthcoming Messiah, and then, later,when Jesus, the Messiah, begins his ministry, his opening words are about justice.[ii] Read More

geoffrey 150xIsaiah 42:1-9 / Psalm 29 / Acts 10:34-43 / Matthew 3:13-17

What’s the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you?  The thing which made your stomach turn over and your heart to race?  For me it was having to start a new school halfway through a term.  By then everyone had already got their friends, and sitting next to them.  I can remember that first day, walking into a class full of children, all staring at me, and none of whom I knew.  I did make friends pretty quickly, but what I suppose I remember above all, was the awful feeling of not belonging.

The first day I went to university I had the same sinking feeling in my stomach.  I remember walking through the college looking for my rooms.  It was staircase V, I remember.  Eventually I found the door, and then…I saw it…painted carefully in small white letters above the door: G. R. Tristram.  My name.  I felt so happy.  I really belong here! Read More

Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Isaiah 42: 1 – 9; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34 – 43; Matthew 3: 13 – 17

I don’t know if I actually saw it the first time. I think I did, but I can’t swear to it. It was on my first visit to Jerusalem and the course I was taking at St. George’s College had spent a few days in and around the Old City. We had then departed for Egypt and had been to Cairo and then on to St. Anthony’s Monastery and to St. Catharine’s in the Sinai. We had crossed the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea and had visited Madaba, Petra and Nebo in Jordan. We were finally heading back to Jerusalem and had just passed through the border crossing into the West Bank and were driving over the Allenby Bridge when our course director announced that at that moment we were crossing the Jordon River. Luckily I had a window seat, but even in the moment it took me to turn my head and look out the window, we were over the river and all that could be seen as we drove off was the lush growth of trees, scrub and brush that outlined the river bank. I remember seeing that, but I don’t actually remember seeing any water, much less anything that passed as a river, at least to my mind.

Read More

Isaiah 42:1-9

Many of you will know that my brother and I returned this past week from a mission trip to eastern Africa, to the Diocese of Tanga in northeast Tanzania.  We traveled with seven other friends of our community, men and women – a physician, a veterinarian, a nurse-midwife, three businesspeople, a teacher – where we brothers renewed our own friendships with our Anglican sisters and brothers, and introduced these seven new friends. Read More