Isaiah 61:1-3 (NRSV)

1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.   

Luke 4:18 (NRSV)

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,   

DEVOTION – Gerald McCann (Cape Town, South Africa)

One spring I decided to visit my sister on South Africa’s West Coast to see the famous display of wildflowers.  At mid-morning my sister and I drove directly into the morning sun.  I glanced around eagerly but my spirits dropped; the country was clothed  in a drab grey-green.  “The best flowers are up ahead,” said my sister with a twinkle in her eye.  I stared forward.  Nothing!  Then mu sister pulled over and made a 180-degree turn.  I gasped with disbelief!  As far as the eye could see the countryside was clothed in a dazzling tapestry of orange, white, and yellow daisies.

“They were there all the time,” explained my sister.  “These daisies are true ‘sun-flowers.’  They close up at night or in overcast weather but when the sun shines they all turn their faces toward the light.  Driving here, we could see only the drab undersides.”  It was as if I had been blind, but now I could see.

As I pondered this, I remembered that Jesus came to bring recovery of sight to the blind.  So often our focus is on the gloomy, negatives of life.  We need to come to Jesus and let him make a 180-degree turn in our attitudes.  That is when he gives us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (KJV).

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s glory is evident in the beauty of creation.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, open our eyes that we may see beauty of your creation and the wonderful love you have for us.